The Natchez Trace Parkway begins (or ends, depending on which way you are going) in Nashville, Tennessee. It continues for 444 miles until it reaches Natchez, Mississippi. The limited access road has just two lanes. The speed limit is fifty miles an hour.
This past Friday Ray and I drove a little over 100 miles on the Trace. The weather was mild. The sun was shining. The day was wonderful.
Much of the Natchez Trace looks like this.
The parkway roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace,” a collection of trails and roads that once ran through Choctaw and Chickasaw country. In the early 1800s, farmers carried their goods in boats on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. After delivering their wares in ports in Natchez, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana, they and their boatmen walked home on the Natchez Trace. Though these tradesmen came from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky, people called them “Kaintucks.” Andrew Jackson led his soldiers on the Trace in 1813. When they watched his perseverance on the trip back home, they gave him the nickname “Old Hickory.”
Travelers on the Trace today can see beauties of God’s creation . . .
. . . and evidence of the pathway’s history. Mississippian Mound Builders left behind Bear Creek Mound . . .
. . . and the Pharr Mounds.
Native people may have used Cave Spring as a source of water and of stone.
Travelers along the road once stopped at a wayside inn called McGlamery Stand.
Ray and I relaxed on Friday. We enjoyed pulling over when we saw one of the many signs for natural and historic sites.
Ray and I also enjoyed remembering when our children were small and we traveled this pretty road from our home in Oxford, Mississippi, to visit our parents in Middle Tennessee. There is something wonderful about driving just fifty miles an hour and taking time to stop for wildflowers and caves and historic sites. Is today a good day for you to slow down and take time to stop for read-alouds and nature walks and cuddles and sitting on the floor with Lego®?
We don’t get detailed wooden signs telling us when to stop for an important moment with our children. We have to determine those stops on our own.
Memories are wonderful. So is the present.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.