We spend a quiet Sunday in Louisville, pass miles of dry stone fences, visit Lincoln’s birthplace, and admire endless fields of bluegrass. Life on the road has already begun to wear on us, and I suggest we stay longer. How great would it be to wake up in the morning without worrying about searching for a sink to brush our teeth? To have a kitchen again would be a luxury above any other. I remind myself of all that we would be depriving ourselves of, and change my mind. After all, desert dreaming is the only thing keeping us warm while sleeping in the car during those frigid hours between sunset and sunrise.
Beyond the beauty of the state, we spend most of our time learning about those who passed over this land before us. Their deteriorating bones fertilize this rich Kentucky earth. One of those men is the famous Daniel Boone. We have crossed his trail several times over the past few weeks, and finally find ourselves standing in front of his resting place. His explorations ended with an overdose on sweet potatoes. At least, that is what his family believed. We learn the tragic story of Jenny Wiley, and travel underground within Mammoth Cave. In this green earth, rows of cemetery stones stand like humble headboards. In somber engravings, we find records of life. Their stories shape our past and pilot our future. Their memories remind us where we are, who we are, and why we are.
We pull away from a perfectly groomed Kentucky Horse Park, and I watch a trainer pull the reins of a brilliant blue stallion. He towers above her in perfect form, as his mane is combed by the wind. I long to capture his resounding strength. In this place, acceptance and peace coincide with death. Alfonso, also inspired by the legends of this state, carries a chorus of glorious sadness, and leads me into my next canvas. His lyrics, I mirror-write into my work:
There’s something about the way
you wrap your hands around my throat.
I lose consciousness,
overwhelmed, I give you control.
My hands shake as eyes close.
One last breath cuts deepest through the cold.
The moisture turns to mist as it floats higher
until it gathers softly on your face.
You always hurt the ones you love.
You always lie to the ones you trust.
You’re never too soft,
a little too rough.
You always kill the ones you love
a little more each day.