Then I drove to the Cobb County Voter Registration Office to have my absentee ballot sent to Nashville. After waiting a while the employee told me that the absentee ballots were being sent that week, September 18, 2020, and if I changed my address now I may not get the ballot in time. So I kept the Marietta PO Box address for it. To obtain this ballot I drove back to Georgia from Nashville again two weeks later. On October 6th I returned to my PO Box, but no ballot was in it. At the Voting Office I was told that my ballot had been sent but that it could take up to 5 weeks to receive as the mail had slowed down! A letter to Japan does not take that long. But the strange thing is that my Georgia neighbors, who are Republicans, received their absentee ballots back in mid September. Checking some more I found out that the Republicans around had received their ballots, but just a few of the Independents and none of the Democrats. So now I have to make another trip to Georgia at the end of the month to see if my ballot has arrived in my box. The Voter Registration Office is only 5 miles from my house in Georgia. It is a new building with a large parking lot. In the Spring of 2016 I took pictures there, with my late husband, of the trees in bloom.
Last Monday, October 12, 2020, thousands of people took part in early voting in Georgia. Some showed up at the Cobb County Voting Office above as early as 8 o'clock, and were not able to vote until that evening, waiting 12 hours or more. I remember the UK woman telling me that people can't be free if they can't vote easily. As she said "The States now is like a 3rd world country, with the same type of government." Years ago the US used to send election observers to countries where there was voter intimidation or suppression - I think these observers should come to Georgia now! Since many Georgians had to stand in line up to 12 hours to vote, I should not complain that I will have had to drive two 5 hour round-trips to come to Marietta to get my ballot (if I am lucky) and vote. From Nashville my house in Georgia it's about 250 miles one way. To be able to cast a ballot this time will take a total of 1000 miles or 1610 km. Below is the Marietta Voting office (shown above) the day of early voting, from morning to night. (Courtesy AJC.)
Even though thousands came early to vote and more will vote in Georgia, I am a bit doubtful about the results. Georgia has a reputation for, to say it nicely, "voting issues" (or voter suppression.) I read in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Steve Davidson, who is Black, said the late U.S Rep. John Lewis had fought too long and hard to secure his place at the polls for him to get tired and leave. "They've been fighting for decades. If I've got to wait six or seven hours, that's my duty to do that. I'll do it happily." Davidson said. So, if I have to drive 1000 miles to vote, then let it be.
In a way I don't mind driving to Georgia. In Nashville, I have been alone now with my cat since March, apart from driving to grocery stores. So getting on the road, driving through the Tennessee Hills and North Georgia Mountains is lovely. About two hours or so after I leave Nashville I usually stop at a small traveler rest area. I have shown pictures of it several times. Watching the lake, listening to the birds and breathing the air, while having a snack with a cup of coffee is so invigorating. I never tire of looking at the water.
Everything was still green. When I next return to Georgia in late October fall colors should start to appear. Still I was a bit down to have driven so far and not been able to get my absentee ballot. I decided to stay in Georgia until Sunday October 11, so I could go back to the post office one more time (I did and still no ballot.) Tuesday October 8th was the second year anniversary of my husband's death. Looking at the map I found a park, just about 3 miles from my house that I have never visited. I thought going there on the 8th would bring more peace than staying and clearing the house, so I drove there. I wish I had known of this park when Jim was still alive - he would have loved it, and so close to the house. It turns out that it was donated to Cobb County in 2001. Formerly and old family farm the park was named after Leone Hall Price who lived there until her death in 2001. Ms. Price had stipulated that the land should become a "passive park" to remain in a natural state.
The park has a total of 243 acres of undeveloped land. It includes a pavilion with picnic area, bathrooms, a small parking lot, and many benches and picnic tables throughout the park. Located 3 miles from my house, the park has an Acworth, GA, address. Being a passive park, its primary use is hiking and walking in unmarked and undeveloped trails. It is very secluded. There were no other cars in the parking lot on October 8th in early afternoon. I started walking, not really sure where I was going, but it was a sunny and warm day (80 F/26.6C.) I went down a hill then up a hill and could see a meadow ahead. The path was covered with grass which meant that not many people walked on it. Reaching a bench I was pleased to take a rest.
In the spring there must be loads of berries there. Now the meadows were covered with yellow wild flowers. I read later in the newspaper that a hiker had spotted a bear with a cub in this park in early spring. (Photo of the bear below from spring article in the AJC.)
No bear sounds around me, just the birds. I started on the mowed wide path again walking by a Bluebird nesting box. But then the path was branching on the right and the left. I took the left path and kept walking towards the woods.
Reaching the woods I could see a number of big old trees. I could smell the scent of the pine trees but also the scent of apples. There must have been an orchard there once as spoiled fruits were on the ground. Another picnic table was under a large tree but then the path was divided again going to the right and the left. I walked toward the left side. (Click on collage to enlarge.)
I was uncertain about exploring some more. Where did this trail lead to? Would I get lost? There were no signs and no one around to ask. But then I could hear the sound of water, so I walked in that direction. I did right because I reached an enchanting little stream (later I found out it is called Allatoona Creek.) There even was a bench there. I took some photos. The water was clear but with the reflection from the sun, it was difficult to show it in my photo. I walked along the stream for a while.
By then I was turned around and did not know how to return to my car. So I took a small path and soon enough I recognized a large tree with a picnic table underneath, kept going and there was the meadow...time to get back to the world.