When you prep all morning for the guided hike and leave home in plenty of time. When you hit I-40 and realize your phone is in the kitchen. When you turn around to get it, then change your mind and turn around again, then regret that and turn around a third time but not at the kind of exit where it is easy to do so. When you burst into the kitchen and surprise your family and grab your phone and start again but are now hopelessly late. When you enter the Cedars of Lebanon State Park driveway as a white government van leaves but do not trust your instincts to follow it. When you jog to the lodge to ask where the field trip went and no one knows. When you drive where you think the van went (based on the vague description in the flyer) and you drive and drive and drive down a dark gravel service road with brown puddles bigger than your car and perhaps too deep for your axles. When you lie on your back under the car to fish a three-foot stick from the chassis. When every gap in the forest is a cedar glade, but every cedar glade has been destroyed by off-road vehicles. When the map says the gravel will end at a junction with a paved road—which you will take no matter where it goes—but it dead-ends twenty feet before that, at a stack of boulders, a mound of Japanese honeysuckle, some beer cans, and what looks like a grave: two white wooden crosses wearing plastic poppies the color of blood.
When you stop rehearsing what you will say when you meet up with the van.
When you turn the car around and slide sideways through the same brown potholes. This hike in what the Department of Agriculture calls “the largest contiguous cedar glade–barren complex in public ownership in middle Tennessee” has been on your calendar for a year. You wore earrings.
When you start looking at those gaps in the forest.