Friday, June 16, 2017

Mid-South Pt.1: Kentucky Caves, Blueberries, and Fireflies

Connor and I just got back from 10 days in the South. We didn't go to the Deep South... more like the Mid-South: Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and then back to Tennessee. 

Our journey started with us landing in Nashville and getting picked up by Connor's brother, Mason. We stopped for a meal and some live music in Bowling Green before reaching our destination for the night: Cave City. I'd read about the cement teepee hotels that had risen in the age of the road trip, but I didn't think I'd get a chance to stay in one.

This one was known as Wigwam Village No.2 and was built in 1937. The room isn't terribly big, but when Connor's cousin ended up driving to meet us, we did our best to get us all in. We couldn't open the front door while everyone was asleep though...

In the morning we had breakfast before taking the Historical Tour at Mammoth Caves. I never thought I'd ever get to visit, but I am so happy we did. We learned about Stephen Bishop, who was a slave. He was asked to map out more of the cave during his time there. What was especially impressive is that his name was put on the map that he developed rather than his owner. The park ranger told us that the only other slave that he knew to have had his name on his own work was Fredrick Douglass.
I took all of one picture at the end of the tour. This is the historic entrance.

Connor's cousin had to go his own way after the tour, but the three of us continued on sight seeing. We stopped by Abraham Lincoln's birthplace, now a monument. We learned that in the corner stone of the moment is a time capsule, which includes a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation in Lincoln's own hand.

Lincoln's family dealt with many land disputes where they were cheated. They moved to a different area, where Lincoln grew up. Another land dispute followed them before the moved to Indiana. What we saw wasn't the original Lincoln boyhood home; it was the neighbor's cabin which was partially restored. There were some original boards and it is thought that Lincoln probably played with the neighbor kids in this particular cabin.

After all the sightseeing, we drove on to Connor's family house and had a cookout with friends and family. We ended up spending a few nights visiting with people. It was also blueberry season, so a couple of us when out to pick some. I found a dragonfly caught in the blueberry net, so I helped him out. He rested a little before flying away.

But the best part was that we came during firefly season! Each night Connor took me out to the fields and we would catch fireflies with our nets and let them light up our jars. We made sure to release the fireflies after an hour or so. One evening we even caught two jars of fireflies each.

I also got a chance to paint a bit. I suppose it is no surprise that I wasn't to capture the magic of fireflies. Ever since I met Connor, I've talked about seeing the fireflies. Fireflies in California are energy efficient... they don't light up.
Other paintings I did on the trip can be found on my tumblr page.

Kentucky was lots of fun, but the next part of our trip was going to take us into the mountains, including the highest peak east of the Mississippi.


José said...

Sounds like a really good trip. That dragonfly is beautiful ! We don't get to see such big and colourful species around here, I am quite impressed..
Speaking of impressed... your painting ! It is wonderful ! I love how it really seems to capture not only the look of a moonlit night, but also the feeling..

Anonymous said...

I love that photo of the fireflies. How lovely!

Anonymous said...

Wow what an incredible start of the trip! I love the pictures of the fireflies, and your painting captures the magic of them so well!

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