It is a silence you can almost feel. A winter night on Tennessee State Highway 13 lends itself to quiet during the ride from Linden to Waverly. After three hours of hearing my own voice and guitar through a PA monitor speaker, I appreciate that silence.
If silence speaks, it does so on cold, dark nights along this two-lane road. I am always ready to listen. Sometimes, there is a Hank Williams moon sliding behind a cloud so no one can see its tears. Other times the moon is a bright white sun lighting up the countryside and my spirits.
After making these periodic trips for about seven years, I can almost tell without looking when the speed limit sign will suddenly declare “30 mph,” and when the more palatable “55 mph” will ring loudly on a glorious black and white rectangle clinging to the road’s slim shoulder. Around 10:00 p.m. as I approach Lobelville, about half way to Waverly, most people there are settled in for warmth on a chilly night. Not much traffic for the thirty-mile-per hour speed limit to slow down.
Soon, I leave Perry County and cross over to Humphreys County, knowing that my fling with silent darkness is coming to an end. The green and white Buffalo (Unincorporated) sign signals the last few moments before I reach Waverly and Interstate 40. The quiet two-lane gives way to fast food restaurants, motels, so-called travel centers and signs pointing the way to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch at Hurricane Mills. I point my 4-wheel gasoline-powered buggy east toward Nashville and home.
Text and photo copyright 2014, 2017 by Les Kerr.