Ever since I left Kentucky, my voice, this space, has lost its compass. Yes, I confess; I am an easy sell with the weather here in South Florida. I feel downright guilty telling friends that while they are braving snowy and sneezy Marches- I am in sandals and sweating. There is nothing I don’t love about an ocean that is mid-70’s in the winter and a sun that seems to never die. I haven’t gotten sick once since moving here; a stark contrast to my flu ridden winters of yesteryear.
And yet. This place is a big city, a sprawling never ending metropolis of strangers that stretches from the Keys to Jupiter. There is a price to be paid for the sun.
Many of us who call Florida home leave in the summer months. The sun that nurtures us during the darkest days of the year becomes an unbearable companion in the high heat of July.
For me, that means going back home to Kentucky. When I moved here I refused to say I was moving- I simply said, “I am going to winter in Florida.”
It’s a mystery for me, again and again, on why I love Kentucky so. I am well travelled; I have lived and visited the world over. But this place, this little petri dish of awesomeness, seems to me to be one of the most beautiful and brazen experiments of “just right” sized communities in America. You see, it’s a city that is just big enough for all of the good stuff- culture, food, music, fun- and small enough so that you still look around you every time you enter a coffee shop…. just to see who you know.
And that- more than anything else- more than any place I go- nourishes me. That, more than anything else, is something I want to give my sons. The creation of true community is a choice- a decision- made by residents and their elected leaders. To not grow too much, to not sprawl out in never-ending mcmansion hells. A place where people know your name and expect you to show up. Yes, perhaps it can be a pain to live in a place where people know your personal business or constantly ask you to contribute. But what a worthy pain it is to be asked to contribute to the common good instead of just your own personal joys.
For me, that place is Louisville. And even though I have so many, many places to go on Earth- I choose to return again to this very tiny, tender, beautiful place that I already know.
I always feel that the city of Louisville gives me much, much more than I can ever give it back.
I share with you an episode from “Music Makes a City”, a very lovely series on the rebirth of the Louisville Orchestra. Teddy Abrams is an inspiration and a love.
A bientôt ma cherie ville!