Archive for September 15th, 2004

I came to the conclusion today that I don’t write much about my only other hobby besides this journal. And that hobby is running at the botanical gardens. The State Botanical Gardens of Georgia are in Athens, and are one of my favorite places in the world. I really love them. A lot. And I really like to run there. Even though it is really hilly, I love it. Because I love running hills. I don’t know if this makes me a masochist or something, but I love running up and down hills. If you want to know something else disturbing, I also love to run steps. We used to run the steps in high school at basketball practice for punishment. I thought this was great because I enjoyed it. This probably means I have problems, but if anyone wants to go run the bleachers at the track with me, let me know.

But back to the botanical gardens. There are miles and miles of trails. Some are overgrown, but most are kept clear, either due simply to the foot traffic or because the caretakers of the gardens care enough to cut down the trees that fall in the trails. And these trees are huge. There is a large portion of the trail that runs along the middle occonee river, and the trees along the river have a tendency to be consumed and eaten by the river. Because of all the hurricanes that have been swirling around lately, heavy rain has caused the river trail to flood. I was hoping it would be all dried up today in order to get a good run in before hurricane Ivan blows into town, and it was for the most part, but there was a substantial section of straight mud. Between picking my way through the mud and dodging the high school cross country team I felt lucky and thankful to escape without injury.

Normally the mud isn’t that much of a problem, although the gardens do get a lot of rain. I think my favorite thing about the gardens is that they remind me of so many things I love about Georgia, especially North Georgia. The gardens take me back to the summers I spent in Rabun county and the intoxicated smell of white pine trees in the sun after a rain (this is most definitely my favorite smell in the world, sweet and fresh and clean). I love the gravel roads that run through the garden, I don’t know why but a winding gravel road in the afternoon is strangely comforting and gives me a great deal of peace.

I have so many feelings about the gardens, and Georgia in general that I don’t think I can tell them all tonight (my run there today was long, and I am tired), but the one thing I do know is that when I am in the gardens, back in the trails or on the gravel roads, I am convinced that I will never be happy anywhere too far away from here. It is so nice to go far away and find such beauty and to come home and discover comparable beauty in your own backyard.

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