Art Assignment #5 - Quietest Place
The most recent theartassignment asked the public to find the quietest place near their home. Now, while mine definitely was not anywhere near either of my homes (I’ll explain in a bit), like most of the “quietest place” submissions I’ve seen, it allowed me to really process the world around me.
Last week, i went up to Lexington with two new friends to go to Keeneland (horse racing!) and then go hiking in the Red River Gorge. We drove up from my current home, Nashville, in about three hours and set off on our whirlwind tour of Kentucky.
The the good majority of the weekend, I was thinking about the South, and why people from “above the Mason Dixon Line” have this, almost prejudice against the South. Sure, their racial history isn’t the best, and yes, there are a lot of problems there, but I think people forget to always acknowledge and revel in the extremely high number of amazing aspects to the South.
I’m originally from Chicago and I went to college in Nashville then then decided to live here after graduating. Now, while it is an 8 hour car ride or $200 plane ticket to get back to my family and friends there, I don’t regret it in the least bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chicago and every time I go back to the city, I am amazed by it’s beauty, grandeur, and culture. It’s heartbeat.
However, the South is an entirely different animal. Sometimes, I feel like it’s not even fair to compare the South to the Midwest. Sure, each region has it’s own food that it’s famous for, a thriving art scene, and a progressiveness that is unique to the issues in the area. But the South has just so much to offer, and I’ve found it frustrating when I tell Midwesterners about it because they immediately brush it off as backwards, not as sophisticated, or unappealing.
In one day, my friends and I experienced one of the oldest horse racing events in American history (founded in 1936) where I witnessed a wonderful culture that people living in the area look forward to every year. The South, I’ve found, has many events that calls people to dress up nice, have a few drinks, and enjoy each others company under the Southern sun. Afterwards, we drove an hour to Red River Gorge, one of the most beautiful parks in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. In a mere hour, I went from gorgeous, healthy farmland, to the foothills of a major mountain range in the US. We went hiking, camping, and stared at the stars while we ate s’mores and talked about life. All of this within a 4 hour drive.
I decided to create a submission for the Art Assignment while we were on our hike to Natural Bridge (pictures 1-4). Being in the middle of the woods just made me very thankful for living in an area where I can travel so freely and experience so many different geographic features. It also made me so, surprised, as to why people don’t like the South. There is such a warm sense of community, openness, and tradition. And right next to those human feelings is natural earthly beauty. Like I said earlier, yes, there are a lot of issues and blemishes on the South’s history, but the North has that too, as does every person in the world.
So here’s my submission for the Art Assignment. Pictures on top of Natural Bridge and at Silvermine Cave in the Red River Gorge. And then a few of Keeneland and my friends just to show the contrast between the two. Hopefully, it’ll prompt some people to be a little more open to what the South has to offer.