“In this life we are all just walking up a mountain, and we can sing as we climb or we can complain about our sore feet. Whichever we choose, we still gotta do the hike.
I decided a long time ago singing made a lot more sense.” ~ Unknown
Flying home Sunday evening while the full Hunter’s Moon watched overhead provided some delightfully beautiful moments like this shot flying out of Chicago, and the shot coming into Lexington. I had a brief talk with David Campbell today about the joys of night photography. So, I thought I’d post some night shots from my iPhone. They’re noisy, too, but who doesn’t love city lights from above? That light pollution is a real drag, but boy it has some beautiful perks.
“The three C’s in life: Choice, Chance, and Change.
You must make the choice to take the chance if you want anything in life to change.”
Let me just take a moment to give a shout out to VisitLex; Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Their main office is on the 20th floor of the Big Blue Building – also known as 5/3 Bank – and they have a small shop in Victorian Square. Not only are they just the sweetest people ever, but they’ve done an incredible job helping us prepare for our in-coming international guests. Kudos to VisitLex. You make us look good.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~ Confucius
Last Friday, as we walked to the The Helix Garage near the Kentucky Theater, I admired how far Lexington has come with its downtown. Like many other downtowns, Lexington is experiencing a long-term renaissance. It was a lively place when I was young and we’d come here from the mountains for things we couldn’t get at home. As a teenage I drove to nearly every rock concert offered at Rupp Arena; a sadly rare event these days (I’m not sure why they stopped the large national acts). In the early 1980’s, when I was getting my feet wet in local music scene, it was pretty lively with plenty of bars offering live bands, but the businesses had dried up and moved to the suburban malls. It was an American phenomenon and Lexington was not immune. But Friday I noticed how much color there is downtown; how much art, how much food and drink and people. There were people everywhere, and not all of them were playing Pokémon Go (but there were plenty of those to be sure). There were people milling about Triangle Park, dining at sidewalk patios, families with small children just admiring all there was to admire along the way. I’ve noticed a marked difference in the arts and in the way downtown looks during the Mayor Jim Gray era. Kudos to him for bringing the place back to life. If we could get a few more bars downtown big enough to offer local live music I’d feel like I stepped back in time thirty years with a lot more color.
“Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear.” ~ Unknown
This blue sky is not indicative of today’s sky in Lexington. It’s been fantastic, actually, with storms training through the area since quitting time, a different kind of beautiful from the day pictured here. We had a large storm roll through yesterday morning as well. We need the rain for the beautiful grass, the beautiful flowers, the beautiful people. We need the rain and it’s as beautiful as the blue sky to me.
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do it keep walking.” ~ Zen Proverb
My first errand Friday was to drop off the car at Lowell’s for maintenance. That left me with plenty of time to explore downtown. One of my favorite things to do, after breakfast at Lexington Diner of course, is to wander the streets looking for just the right shot of downtown. Most of the time, though, the best image(s) aren’t of the idyllic cityscape, but in things rarely seen; angles, rooftops, juxtapositions of all manner of things. As I came near the corner of Mill and Second, just across from the Carnegie Center, I caught a glimpse of the First Presbyterian steeple. Do you prefer it in color or black and white? I’m going for the black and white myself, but I offer both for fun. In any case, either of these houses must be incredible places to call home. Old, steeped in a modicum of mystery, urban, and cool. I would love to know the history of either house.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
~ M. Scott Peck
I went to First Presbyterian Church in downtown Lexington this morning. After everyone had gone I popped off a few shots. I remember so well the first time I stepped foot into this church. It was probably ten years ago, give or take a year. I had never been in a Presbyterian church before, and I sure didn’t know what to expect from the sermon. It would prove a pivotal moment.
Then, as now, I thought it was the most inspiring church I’d ever stepped into, and that was before the renovation as you see here. It isn’t the most opulent, the most architecturally stunning, nor the most humble of churches I’ve ever attended. But there was something about the glow that I found attractive. There’s no other word for it: in my eyes it glowed, and that was before the sermon delivered by then pastor Rev. Lee Bowman. It was spell-binding, and it kept me coming back, changing the course of my spiritual journey along the way. Lee left and Rev. Mark Davis stepped in. I was slow to warm to his off-the-cuffness, but here lately his messages have hit their mark, giving me words I need to hear right when I need to hear them. I have grown to appreciate Rev. Davis a great deal, and it feels good to go back into this sanctuary, welcomed and at home.
Downstairs at First Church they have a lovely gallery space which is part of Lexington’s Gallery Hop event. There, I’ll be hanging twenty pieces from my Sacred Spaces series in two weeks. If they hadn’t offered the opportunity of an exhibit I may have never started the series to tell you the truth. I’d been mulling it over in my head for a decade without a single click. Perhaps I should include one of these photos in the exhibit. It’s not too late.
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” ~ James Joyce
It’s been fun being a tourist in downtown Lexington for the last two days. As an attendee of the Midwest Archives Conference at the Hilton, I had the chance to check out downtown during the weekdays. I have to say they’ve done a great job revitalizing Lexington’s downtown area.
The city was bustling with people and traffic and food and archivists. I ran into many old friends at the conference like Ginny Daley. I’ve known Ginny for nearly thirty years, but we didn’t meet because of archives. We met through music when I joined a band with Ginny’s friend, Kiya Heartwood. They were both in Library school at the time. Ginny finished. Kiya dropped out, but not before working as a GA for my co-worker and conference buddy, Judy Sackett. I learned that Ginny had also worked with (or for, I don’t remember) Judy lo those many years ago. Back then I would have been the last person anyone would have figured to go into library work. It’s pretty entertaining how life turns out sometimes. One thing is certain, no matter where your path leads, this is a small, small world. I’m thrilled to be in it, and tickled that Ginny Daley is still my friend all these years later.
“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” ~ John Wayne
Here’s one last offering from my trip downtown last Wednesday. Car-hood-as-tripod is much more obvious this time, but I like the look of the night. I think I’ll make it a point to go shoot more after hours. I’m very lucky to live in a town with churches that light up the winter gloom.
“May we not take one sweet day for granted,
may we give thanks for all the human and animal blessings that flow in and around and upon us.
May we close our eyes, now and again, in simple gratitude.”
~ Nikky Finney
One of the great things about getting out of a late class in fall is the sunset. Enjoy!
“When we seek to discover the best in others,
we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.”
~ William Arthur Ward
Last week I learned that the People’s Bank on South Broadway is going the way of UK dorms. The bank is currently taking bids for demolition crews. According to Tom Eblen’s article in the Herald-Leader, this building is the last of the Modernist era architecture in Lexington. That will be a significant loss to Lexington.
I’ve driven past People’s Bank a billion times, and like so many in the Bluegrass, I’ve always adored it’s shape and color. Its tiny stature sandwiched between behemoth structures is just as charming as can be. Since I didn’t bank with People’s, I never used its services, nor have I ever had the occasion to even walk in front of it. Given its eventual demise, I had to have a closer look.
This building is more fascinating in person than in pictures. Completed in 1961, it’s like an episode of Mad Men. The color of the brick is so deeply glazed and entrancing; the sharp edges of the roof line with those triangular turquoise accents cut through the sky like a serrated knife. I’d never noticed those accents until today. Everything about this little building is captivating, really.
And the inside, wow! I can smell decades old stale cigarette smoke through the cracks in the door. (I know that sounds weird, but I really can smell it – I’ve got a nose for smoke.) The curtains look mid-1970’s dust, and most of the carpet covering the original marble-esque floor has been pulled up. It’s easy to imagine the hustle and bustle of daily business, as if the building is still filled with people.
I know they say it can’t be salvaged because of the asbestos, but I think that’s a cop out. In truth, I think it would be an expense nobody, including the bank that owns it, wants to take on. So, we’re left to say goodbye to another piece of history. I am so thankful I went exploring this treasure while I still could. It was a beautiful gift.