The Solo Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving week y’all!

My pantry is stocked, the menu is set, and the house is mostly clean. This year we’re having Thanksgiving here in Nashville, as my parents had an appointment in town this week. There’s baking to be done and a Turkey Trot to prep for Thursday morning.

I wrote last week a bit about rushing Christmas but I do enjoy Thanksgiving as well. For several years my parents traveled to the beach during this week for a festival, and to escape the colder weather of east Tennessee. Between schedules, vacation time allowances, and the short travel window, I often opted not to join them. So it often meant I was solo for Thanksgiving. Honestly I didn’t much mind as I love to cook, and this is the Super Bowl of cooking in my mind. I had offers from friends and coworkers to join them and their families for the holiday, which I always appreciated, but never took them up on. Partly because I’m a bit of an introvert (shocking I know) but I also didn’t want to interfere on their family time.

Recently I was thinking on this as I prepped my lists and put up my decorations. Singles often find themselves alone on holidays for many of the same reasons I had-travel costs, vacation time allotment, schedules. But sometimes family is just hard for some singles, or they don’t have family in the definition we often attribute. In that perspective it’s hard to give thanks, it’s hard to sit at home and dwell in that constant quiet of single life. It’s difficult to see the family aspect come out in every commercial, show and conversation being had.

So if you know of some singles-whether they be at church, work, friend circles-check on them and find out if they are spending Thanksgiving solo. See if they’d like to join you, your family, or start a new tradition as a single and host your own for those who may not have somewhere to go or who don’t want to cook! You may get turned down, but press in a bit without being pushy. Be a bit vulnerable with your hospitality, even when it’s not perfect. Even when it gets a bit messy explaining the family relations as a backstory. 

It doesn’t take a buffet, an immaculate home, or well-behaved family. It takes opening your heart and your door to someone and giving thanks for that opportunity. It’s giving thanks for perspective and a seat-filled at the table, where so many conversations and life are done. It’s choosing a moment of uncomfortable for a season of thanks and giving. Maybe you’ll have a new tradition for your family for years to come.

 

 

Top Five Friday-Hikes

So I love to hike…that’s the one sucky part about Nashville is that the Smoky Mountains aren’t a 20 minute drive for me. Man I miss that place. Today I wanted to share my five favorite photos from hikes. As a single gal, I go hiking solo alot (much to the chagrin of friends and family who think it unwise) but it provides thinking time and space to take photos.

Without further ado…

Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

1. Bays Mountain

My original hiking place. It started it all. It’s a quietly nestled away, yet an easy hike. This photo was when I first got interested in hiking photography. It remains my all-time favorite capture. They also have a wildlife refuge full of turkeys, wolves, and other creepy crawlies. My favorite part used to be the Planetarium. I haven’t actually been in that in probably 20+ years.

2. Cades Cove (the loop)

Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

Living as close as I did to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, I would often take a day off and drive up to one of the hiking trails. A common, and very popular, trail is Cades Cove. It’s an 11-mile loop you can drive, with short 1-2 mile off-shoots to hike on. This place stays packed year-round with visitors, but if you get up there early enough you can sometimes get it to yourself, or yourself and some other nature photographers.

Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

3. Sweet Heifer Trail

Sometimes you just have to get off the beaten trail. This one is exactly what I did. It was a fun experience, but one I knew was out of my hiking experience once I got a mile in the trail. This one is near Clingman’s Dome, but definitely an intermediate hike. I ended up tracking back on this hike instead of climbing further into it. It was the quietest place I think I have ever found though. And stunningly beautiful.

4. Narrows of the Harpeth

Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

While I have hiked some crazy trails before, this one was the one where I experienced the snake coming across the rocks towards me. And I screamed. LOUDLY. Now I am a Southern girl, I know how to shoot a gun and I am okay with the majority of animals, but I inherited my snake fear from my Dad. You don’t play around when they are coming at you. Regardless, this hike was a wet mess. It took far longer to get there than expected and I was disappointed at the trail. But it became my favorite when I got to this trail where the photo was taken. This photo reminds me of so much of where I was in that time. It’s a marking point in my journey and I love that.

5. Bledsoe Creek

This place is nestled back in Gallatin. It’s a drive for sure. On this Spring day earlier this year, it was perfection. This is the only hike I did not do solo in my top five favorites. It holds alot of meaning to me in many ways. This hike is a signpost in my journey that brings a smile to my face and warmth to my soul. The trails are relatively low-key and standard for the middle Tennessee area.

Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Property of Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

 

Do you have a favorite spot? What is a hobby you enjoy doing solo? Share below!