Just My Thoughts – Let the Sunshine State In!

(Niceville, Florida; July 22, 2021) –  Life has a way of surprising you, and I don’t mean with an unexpected party.

I departed Washington State May 9th on a circuitous path leading through places such as the magnificent Grand Canyon, historic roads like Route 66 across New Mexico and Texas, the sun-kissed Gulf Coast, the wind-swept dunes of Virginia, and, finally, to the historically tragic killing fields of Gettysburg before swinging back south to my final destination of Tennessee.

And that’s when I ended up right back in Florida.

No, I didn’t forget to make a left turn in Albuquerque (well, for the record, I actually did forget to make a left turn during the three days I spent in Albuquerque, but I got myself back on track and found the Denny’s I was looking for).  What I did run into was a most interesting confluence of events swirling about different parts of the rather colorfully collection of characters I call family.

I spent three weeks here in Niceville with my family before embarking on the second leg of Cross Country 2021.  I swung up the East Coast, my geographical travels peaking just north of Gettysburg in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, before I started the long, weary, and dangerously epic two-day drive along well-maintained interstate roads to Middle Tennessee (while running into the biggest fork in the road my life has ever encountered!).  Sarah Jane, my little SUV, was packed to the gills with everything from clothes to a field kitchen so I could be ready to hit the ground running once I got to Tennessee and found a place.

Life had, most humorously, other plans for me.

The Fork in the Road that I ran into is a 21-foot stainless steel sculpture built by the steel welding students of Franklin-Simpson High School’s Class of 2018. Franklin, Kentucky. (Nathanael Miller, 15 July 2021)

After I got to Tennessee and found a posh, elegant, and eminently affordable Holiday Inn Express, I met up with my family there in the Nashville area who are living through the normal evolutions that life offers those of us who are still breathing.  Concurrently, family back here in Florida were also experiencing the inevitable life changes that come with living.  The completion of a number of discussions resulted in my long-intended long sojourn in Tennessee winding down only 96 hours after it began.

So, let the Sunshine State in!

I’m a murder-mystery writer, so I know full well that all good adventures need at least one good twist in the plot to keep it good and exciting.  Still, even for a lifelong Navy man who was inoculated against impatience with many a healthy dose of ‘hurry up and wait’ injected into him, this one was a toad-strangler!

This twist is not entirely incomprehensible since we’ve all been physically separated for over a year due to an unnamed virus that likely came from an unnamed Asian nation’s lab.  All of our families and friends, not merely mine, have grown and changed in unexpected ways as a result of the circumstances we’ve been living through.  Even tight-knit families like mine are surprising each other.

So I’m back in Florida for the duration.  I’m uber lucky that I can crash at my old homestead in Niceville while I begin the exciting (and arduous) adventure of househunting.  I’m going to put down my roots over in Pensacola, a city I’ve always loved visiting as I grew up here just off Boggy Bayou.

The housing market is not the best play to be a buyer right now, but right now is when I need housing, so I’m in the game.  Even so, I’m fortunate.  I can play a long game in my search since I have my family home here in Niceville to use as a base of operations until I find a good house.  Still, it’s going to be interesting, to say the least!

Stay tuned for further adventures, travel logs, waterfront memories, and all manner of loquaciously lively literary narratives detailing my dedicated detour to deciding on a dwelling.  Pensacola has the distinction of being able to claim it’s one of the two oldest cities in the U.S. (the other is St. Augustine, and I’ll get into their competition for the title at a later date).  Anyone familiar with my writing knows about the magnificent National Museum of Naval Aviation, but there’s far more to unearth in Pensacola than merely Navy history.

The story continues!

On other fronts, I’m starting a new program on my YouTube channel.  Sparks1524 Short Takes will be a series of two-minute spots highlighting…well, whatever I want to highlight!  My normal programming will continue, but not everything needs to be told in 5 – 7 minute segments.  Additionally, I know from my own experience that sometimes I just want a very short, quick little program when taking a break from work.  But don’t worry!  The regular episodes of Sparks1524 will also still be forthcoming as I continue to encourage you to think independently, experience wonder, always explore, and do great things!

Check out my video at: https://youtu.be/yCtmg95B3n0

…just my thoughts!

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Nathanael Miller’s Photojournalism Archives:

Instagram:      @sparks1524

Flickr:             https://www.flickr.com/photos/sparks_photography/

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