“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” ~ Joseph Campbell
It’s not out of the ordinary to find a volunteer pansy peeping through a sidewalk crack around campus. It’s far less ordinary to find a stalk of corn growing in an ivy bed at Transy. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what I found. You gotta hand it to Mother Nature’s tenacity. She inspires me every day.
“Don’t wait. Life goes faster than you think.” ~ Unknown
Shell and Crystal admired a camera sitting atop the Audubon cabinet housing Transy Library’s copy of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The ladies give scale to the enormous prints that were bound into beautiful leather bindings. The prints and the cabinet, which was specially made for the volumes, were donated to the library by a wealthy woman named Clara Peck. She also donated a first edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species. These donations and others have been in the news lately with the recent release of the film American Animals based on the heist at this very library. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the film, but there’s no mistaking how we all felt about what happened at Transy. I’m really glad their special collections librarian wasn’t seriously hurt (she gave me my first tour of the library over a decade ago), and I’m overjoyed that their stolen goods were returned.
“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what’s been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down.The choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to you.” ~ Josh Shipp
I’ve had an excellent week capped off by a trip to Transylvania University’s Moosnick Museum and Special Collections. My old friend and former housemate Kevin Johnson is Transy Library’s latest hire. He joined us on the tour (“us” as in UK Libraries’ Special Collections crew). You sort of met Kevin way back on January 4, 2012 when the outhouse first sprang to life. Actually, you only met his wrist (watch), so this is the first time you see his face. Kevin probably doesn’t know that his calm demeanor and steady friendship helped hold me together during one of the worst periods of my life at the death of my BFF Jim Brown. You can’t replace friends like that.
I’ll talk more about Moosnick later because there’s a lot to talk about and it’s very cool, but this post is about three old college friends who somehow, after twenty years, managed to find themselves on a workday in the same place all armed with cameras, on Friday the 13th no less. We shot plenty around Transy, but we shot lots of each other, too. I think our colleagues were entertained by our three ring circus. In case I haven’t told the story: Kevin was in the MFA program at UK as Crys and I were working on our undergrad degrees (all in photography). Kevin took us under his wing, and in many ways, taught us more than we would have ever gotten from our coursework. We forged lasting friendships. Fast forward all these years and Kevin is happier now than I have ever known him to be. He has a son in whom he delights, and now he has landed a job with people who truly appreciate his highly evolved silly photog ways. He even gets big bear hugs from Marie. It makes me so happy to see him well and peaceful. He’s a great man and Transy is fortunate to have him. Me and Crystal are pretty lucky, too.
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” ~ Plutarch
A scene caught my eye that I never noticed before, though I’ve passed it a hundred times. This shotgun house sits parallel to the Transylvania University ball field. It’s dwarfed by the brick fence, larger Bluegrass Trust homes, and Hazelrigg Hall. Everything about it was crooked. Everything about it was cool. I’d be pleased to sit on its front porch.