The Only Ten I’ve Seen

My family’s cottage on Atwood Lake is home to an accumulation of hand-me-down couches and recliners that no longer fit the stylish standards of “this season’s” (or this decade’s) décor. Among these mismatched items stands a five-shelf bookshelf that showcases a small portion of my great-grandfather’s library of encyclopedias, poetry, drama and philosophical texts.

The shiny gold spine of Wilferd A. Peterson’s book The Art of Living caught my eye, just as it has for the past hundred times I’ve visited the cottage; for the first time, I decided to pick it up and page through Peterson’s collection of essays offering guidance on happiness, friendship and giving back.

A passage from his his essay “The Art of Traveling” resonated with me as I thought ahead to the road trip to Florida I would be embarking on five days later: “Travel slowly. Jet planes are for getting places not seeing places; take time to absorb the beauty of mountain or cathedral.”

I have only been to Florida one other time in my life when spent a portion of my spring break this year in Naples visiting my aunt and uncle. The two-hour flight from Columbus, Ohio, to the Fort Meyers Airport was a convenient method of transportation, though after a while, the aerial view of the states left me more interested in reading my book than looking out the window.

This time, my journey consists of a 22-hour car ride accompanied by my mom, brother and four neighbors. Although the trip is broken up between two minivans and a halfway stop in Byron, Georgia, I was still apprehensive about spending an extended period of time in such close quarters with a 9-year-old, 11-year-old and two feisty teenage boys.


What’s a road trip without a mound of pillows and blankets and a driver envying the comfort of the back seat?


Then, I saw the views.

We began the first portion of our trek at 10:00 yesterday morning and didn’t find a place to settle down for the night until 1:00 this morning. Instead of the 15-hour drive lagging on, I was captivated by the views we were greeted by as we drove through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia.

Of course, I was grateful for the opportunity to utilize my GoPro, if only for an unnecessary quantity of driving videos.


The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge allowed us to cross the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky.


We drove…


…and drove. And when we got bored, Snapchat filters provided a temporary relief from the endless, “How much longer?” inquiries.




When we came across a sign in Ooltewah, Tennessee, indicating a scenic view off the side of the highway, nobody was surprised when I insisted that we pull over to observe the views.


I truly could not capture the mesmerizing beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the sunset beneath the overcast sky. My family waited patiently for me in the car as I stood on the side of the road, marveling at the scenery.


Tennessee, indeed, is the only ten that I’ve seen.


The views gave us the boost we needed to complete our first day of driving, and I can only imagine the views I have to look forward to once we arrive at our destination. The slower travel time, as I’ve come to learn, truly does allow you to absorb the beauty of the world around you.

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