By now, I’m sure you have seen pictures of the flood that has devastated Nashville. Although my next blog post was going to be my race report from the Country Music Half Marathon, I wanted to share some of my thoughts over the past few days.
Nashville is the second largest city and the largest metropolitan area in the state of Tennessee. This post is about two ways that Nashville has become smaller to me.
Nashville By Foot
I have lived in Nashville for almost 10 years, but only started running and joggling less than two years ago. As I slowly increased my mileage and explored different running routes around the city, Nashville became a smaller city. Five years ago, I would never have considered traveling by foot from the Farmers’ Market up to MetroCenter. The only way to get downtown to the river front was to use some type of vehicle. But now, having navigated a good portion of Nashville by foot, I can’t help but feel more connected to these particular areas that were hit hardest by the flood.
Yesterday, after work, I went for my first run since the weekend. I ran a 5 mile out-and-back from my office to the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River downtown. It was my first time seeing the downtown flooding in person. Even though the waters had begun to recede, it was still hard to believe. Streets were underwater, emergency and cleanup vehicles were everywhere, and the pedestrians I passed were silent and somber. Traveling on foot, we had a shared experience that I would have missed had I been in a car.
Barefoot runners talk about feeling connected to the ground and the world around them in a new way. Despite having a shoe between my foot and the ground, running has connected me to a smaller Nashville.
The Social Internet
Say what you want about social media, but one thing it does for sure, is connect people. As the rain poured down on Saturday, I was watching the local television coverage and checking Twitter. The television was great for providing live footage and radar maps, but Twitter was giving me personal accounts from all over town of how the rising waters were affecting people. On Sunday, I lost power in my apartment, but was able to use access the Internet on my phone to keep up with the latest news. As we slowly realized the magnitude of the devastation that was going on, an amazing thing happened. The people of Nashville united, the city became smaller, and we started the long process of recovery.
I won’t ramble on, as there are plenty of more interesting Nashville blog posts for you to read. I just wanted to share my perspective as a runner, joggler, and Internet geek. To my fellow residents, no matter who you are, We Are Nashville.
If you are just now learning of the incredible damage sustained in and around Nashville and are wondering how you can help, this Nashvillest blog post will point you in the right direction.