I am surprised I haven’t already featured these photos yet! I searched and searched through my posts, using every keyword I could think of but came up with nothing. I know I’ve posted these somewhere besides on Flickr. Probably on Facebook back in 2010 when I initially took the photos.
I remember the evening. I was restless and had to get away. Usually that means I end up somewhere like Kentucky where I hit the Bourbon Trail, or St. Louis where I attend Mass for the first (and only) time at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Or I go somewhere more local like Oliver Winery located an hour away down south near Bloomington. But this time I went to Holliday Park, just across town. And I pretended to have a Greek vacation. The ruins can do that for you.
At the time I lived in Irvington. Irvington is about 30 minutes away from Holliday Park so it was like a mini-vacation. Now I live just a few blocks away and can walk there whenever I want. So happy!
I have a certain lust for spontaneously going on short trips. One day, a couple years ago, I left to get milk and eggs and ended up in St. Louis, MO where I attended a Catholic Mass at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (I’m not Catholic. It was beautiful). That was the first trip. Since then, I have found myself doing over-nighters in Paris, Tennessee (where a college friend was visiting one weekend) and Lexington, Kentucky, where I discovered the Bourbon Trail and enjoyed my first tour of a distillery—Woodford Reserve. Just this past summer I wound up at Maker’s Mark. All these destinations were not planned. I got in my car and took off.
My son, Josh, asked me just recently if he could go with me next time so for his birthday, I asked him, “What direction do you want to go?”
“Towards Nashville or Knoxville?” I needed to know if we were to take I65 or I74.
We left the day it snowed in Indianapolis, where visibility at times was just a few feet in front of us. But we were headed south so I figured we would eventually leave the snow behind and we did. All the way down we wondered what we would do in Nashville. Neither one of us have any country music leanings. I mentioned Johnny Cash and Josh confused him with Willie Nelson. I could only think of “A Boy Named Sue” and then later “I Walked the Line.” I said, “At least if anyone asks, we can say we’ve been to Opryland.” I don’t know why that’s important. No one has asked me that yet.
Josh works 3rd shift so by the time we got to Nashville and checked into Fiddler’s Inn, a motel on Music Valley Drive and just minutes from Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center (Opryland), he had been up almost 24 hours. Instead of going out, he zonked out and I was tired from the drive so I stayed in reading brochures and whatnot, wondering what we would do the next day. The best I could come up with was to go to Opryland and wander through their nine acres of botanical gardens. Yeah. Sure. A 23 year old young man would just love to do that for his birthday.
The next day, with a “whatever” shrug from Josh, we drove around the area with Opryland itself being the final destination. We never made it. I suggested we tackle Willie Nelson and Friends first since we were driving by. If we liked it well enough to return, we would. Across the upper facade of the store are numerous country singers and, frankly, I had no idea who any were except two:
Then, once inside, all the country, redneck, hillbilly-type stuff just did me in. Did my son in, also. I took this photo of an oversized poster of Willie Nelson that hung gloriously on one of the walls and after a few minutes, my son and I left.
We drove around Opryland all the while discussing how wrong it was that we were in country music territory since we didn’t like country music. We looked at each other, shook our heads, waved goodbye to Opryland, and drove away.
We fled the country trappings of Nashville to the hide in the caves of Kentucky.
If you want to experience Mammoth Caves themselves, then definitely go in the winter when your tour size is only 21 people rather than 125. If you want to experience the beautiful scenery with the caves being secondary, then go in summer/fall. I’m glad we went in the winter since our first priority were the caves. We got there an hour early for the tour we wanted (the historical tour) so we went wandering down some of the trails. This is Josh looking out over a scenic view.
I tried to get photos of the view itself but with the trees so forlorn and brown/gray there was no contrast to represent depth. Don’t get me wrong, I took photos and I have tried to punch up the contrast and colors in Photoshop, but there really wasn’t anything to work with so I gave up. Josh and I kept saying, “This place would be gorgeous in the summer or the fall” so we wandered around envisioning all the colorful leaves on the trees and relishing the warmth of our thoughts.
One of the trails goes to a cemetery. It’s a small cemetery and I wandered around it while Josh stayed at the other end reading the stories of those buried there.
Josh and I both consider ourselves winter hardy, but I was wearing a sweater and scarf and he was wearing a fleece jacket, totally unprepared for the below freezing temperatures. We headed back to the tour center where we warmed up just in time for the tour.
With it still close to the holidays, the Christmas tree they set up in the rotunda part of the cave was still there. I knew the light situation deeper in the cave would not be good for photography, so I captured this photo. I was using a 50mm 1.8 prime and on-camera flash.
Josh and I loved Mammoth Caves. It was perfect for his birthday. He was able to get away from Indiana and from work, visit a couple of different States, get a bizarre sense of country music, and wander through caves where he felt perfectly at home. And I loved it for almost the same reasons (though I’m not perfectly at home in a cave). I think a little mother/son bonding was nice, also.
My camera and I were at odds with each other last night. I blame it on the storm. My friend is a drummer for a belly dance troupe. She invited me to go with her to Mosey Down Main in Lafayette, Indiana so that I could take photos of her group. The weather had something else in mind, though, and my camera rebelled. I captured very few usable photos. Even so, I caught some of the drama of the evening.
I took a much-needed break yesterday and headed south. I didn’t know where I was going, I just wanted to go. I ended up at Oliver Winery, which is a very pleasant place to end up. Oliver Winery is a favorite destination for me when I’m roaming because of their bucolic setting and wonderful tasting room. And they are far enough away from me for it to be an adventure but close enough for me to get home easily. The sun was high and clouds floated by. It was a cool—cooler than it had been for weeks—and very bright day.
Are there times when you just have to get away but don’t know where you want to go but you go anyway? These times are magical times. Follow the urge. You’ll find the destination to be just what you need.
(I am not affiliated with Oliver Winery. I just like them. A lot.)
I had a wonderful time driving with my son one Saturday a while ago. You know how it is. You’re driving in the country and come upon a small town with one-lane down the main drag (well, ok, two lanes, but they feel like one). Your son is driving, getting the feel of the road (that’s why you’re driving in the country and not on some crowded city street). He carefully puts on turn signals (in the country) and starts slowing down three blocks before an intersection (in the country). And you. You’re lazily watching the scenery amble by, fully confident of your son’s driving (in the country), when all of a sudden you see it! It is beauty beyond beauty and you sit up and scream, “TURN HERE TURN HERE!” And your son stiffens and the road swerves…but not in the direction you want it to. And the one lane becomes even smaller and your son yells, “MOM, DON’T EVER DO THAT AGAIN.” And you look longingly behind you as ….
….the most beautiful brick wall fades into the distance. And your son clutches the steering wheel. And you watch the brick wall disappear…out of sight…and you sigh. You know what I’m talking about. It happens all the time. Right? I thought so. It happens to me, too.
The urge to roam is always strong. Where to today? I thought of my friend, Lucy, and her tales of the glorious blossoming of flowers at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) so I packed my camera and headed out. The IMA grounds are stunning. People go there as if they are going to a park, not to a museum. I saw picnicking…two people up in a tree with a blanket draped over the branch even! I passed a therapy group discussing their major problems and breakthroughs (I didn’t listen in…I had no need to know their pains). The spring birds sang in the branches above me. Children ran and challenged authority by standing close to the edge of the fountain, glancing surreptitiously at their parents while they dragged branches through the water, rippling its serenity.
I couldn’t help but think I was in the Garden of Eden with a sense of peacefulness all around me. And yet….and yet. An undercurrent of longing, of experiencing more than simple joy and peace, nagged at me. I envisioned the lovely Nine of Pentacles and thought of how blessed I am to have a sanctuary to retreat to for rejuvenation. But I was restless. I pulled out my camera and took some lovely photos.
But I was restless.
I sat on a bench and closed my eyes and meditated.
But I was restless.
I enjoyed the Three Graces, the most beautiful statue in all of Indianapolis.
But I was restless.
I can’t shake the restlessness. I have a longing inside me. It is best understood as my spirit wishing to separate from itself and experience duality. I have long suppressed my spirit in a life of shoulds and have-tos, a life where others told me how to live and breath and die.
The garden in the Nine of Pentacles is a beautiful place to be. It is a Garden of Eden. But we are not meant to live forever in the Garden. The myth tells us so. We cannot know ourselves if all we have is beauty, peace, and loveliness. Creativity and life comes out of duality, of experiencing the other, of alchemical reactions and chafes and conflict.
So I left the Garden. Rejuvenated, yes. But with anticipation of something more.