Sunday, May 3, 2009

Memphis/Poison Ivy

Last night the Stringdusters settled into a nice evening of music at the Bartlett Performing Art Center. Everyone was relaxed, the audience was attentive, if not a little on the quiet side, but it didn't seem to matter to the band as we rolled through 2 sets of mostly original Stringduster music. The attendance exceeded promoter expectation, which is always the goal and we even got out of there by 10:45. Memphis to Nashville usually takes 3 hours, but Jeremy was driving and we made it in under 2.5.

I've been battling a case of poison ivy for a few days now and thought I was turning the corner but for some reason the Benedryl wasn't working (well, it was making me feel very very docile and relaxed but it wasn't stopping the itching) and I ended up rubbing holes through my socks trying to get some relief. Scratching a serious itch can be almost euphoric. Unfortunately, like most highs, when it comes to poison ivy that euphoria is followed closely by intense discomfort. I got in the house and into the shower and scrubbed for what could have been an hour, I don't know, it felt soooo good. Today I have a nasty rash to show for it. If you don't like pictures of body parts in a sickened state, I suggest you read someone else's blog.

The Spring Rain Cycle continues here in middle Tennessee. No mountain biking this week. Todays hourly forecast calls for rain. The ten day forcast has precipitation every single day... It would figure that the only time I'm home this year for more than 5 or 6 days I would have poison ivy and it would be raining. I suppose I should just re-align my priorities, play a lot of music, get out the running shorts and fix the flat on the 'cross bike. It's pavement or nothing.

Back to the ivy. How did I get such a nasty case? I live in a nice little neighborhood in a nice little corner of a nice big-ish city that is seriously lacking in greenspace. I see a lot of towns/cities and generally with a little bit of research ( I can locate a nearby greenway or even just an empty space on the map that the locals have hacked a trail through. Nashville doesn't really have these. At all. There's a few greenways, but they're all well out of running distance from my home and dispite the river being less than a 10th of a mile from my house, there's no real decent, clean access. Just a boat ramp with an endless stream of gutted fish and beer cans lying around. In my quest for a place to get into the woods within' walking distance of my home, I located a blank spot, sandwiched between two neighborhoods, the river, and I40 West. It seems as though it's been set aside by the city in case they want to build a bridge across the river, but that's unlikely to happen anytime in the next 20 years. Two streams or "drainages" run through the piece, creating a little bit of an island vibe, there's some elevation gain and loss and I've seen some massive turtles. The piece is probably 10-20 acres and it's absolutely full of garbage.

I've taken it upon myself to cut a trail through the property with the purpose of creating access to this nice little piece for myself and the neighborhood, and also as a means to clean up the property. Like I said, it's absolutely littered with garbage. So, I've been heading in there and clearing out brush and sapplings and cutting through endless thorns and bamboo and it was coming along nicely until I broke out with a nasty case of poison ivy.

I'll probably put on long pants and head over there again today since I'm stupid and I really want to make this project a reality. The trail I have mapped out will likely be barely a mile, but it'll be so nice to throw in a mile or two of trail running into my running routine. I also envision setting up a small fire ring and heading out into the woods to watch the sun go down and burn a little brush. I'll take the camera so I can start to document the progress and the trash (already have large piles every 15 feet or so).

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