A few weeks ago, I took a few days off from my work for my cousin's wedding. Like many others, I spent most of the flight snoozing in cattle class. On descent to Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, I opened the window shade.
Gentle rivers, ponds, lakes, farms, trees, grass on gently rolling countryside, and all of it green and cool and lovely -- so unlike arid Southern California. Everything was warmly illuminated by the setting sun. That's when I knew it would be a good weekend.
I picked up my baggage and my rental car and hit the road. After some blundering around -- highway numbers weren't always on street name signs -- I got on I-64, which took me to the Mountain Parkway, and from there to State Highway 52, which took me to Lago Linda Hideaway, my home for the weekend.
Driving is nice in rural areas. No crowds, no traffic. I was flying down the road in a zippy Nissan Versa. Did I break the speed limit? I take the Fifth!
I stayed in a snug cabin at Lago Linda Hideaway. After unloading the car and before sacking out for the night, I looked at the sky.
Dazzling view -- so many more stars visible than in Los Angeles -- makes me wish our country would take A Step Farther Out to the High Frontier to see what's out there. (If we don’t, some other unfriendly country will.) It was glorious. I wish I'd had a telescope or binoculars.
The wedding took place at Cathedral Domain, just 15 minutes away from Lago Linda. It's an Episcopalian retreat and camp next to the Daniel Boone National Forest. Just like Lago Linda, it was quiet and peaceful. The American revolutionary Thomas Paine said that the word of God is in the creation we behold, not in scriptures or other writings -- and that is the closest that I come to being religious.
I enjoyed the wedding ceremony. The cathedral was a wooden building constructed in traditional mountain style. The main aisle had the insignia of the local Episcopal churches on flags designed after the style of European medieval heraldry. The warmth of the guests was palpable. My cousin and her husband were very happy. Dinner was generous plates of beef brisket and pulled pork, with coleslaw, and wine and beer and Ale 8 One, the local soda. Yum! It’s refreshing to eat food that isn’t low calorie, low sodium, fat free, or gluten free – people should enjoy food without feeling guilty about it. I took some back to my cabin at Lago Linda to eat for breakfast the next day.
The next day, my uncle and I went hiking. We explored the Bat Cave on the Cathedral Domain property. It took us about half an hour to slosh through the cave, walking through the stream on the floor of the cave all the way. Yes, there were some bats hanging from the cave ceiling; no, they did not bite us or fly by us. When my uncle and I returned from the cave hike, I put my hiking boots (the only footwear I brought on the trip) out to dry in the Sun, and padded around barefoot -- just like a kid at camp. We also went to the Natural Bridge State Park. Then I rounded up my gear and drove to Lexington, where I checked into my hotel near the airport for my last night in Kentucky.
Rural Kentucky is beautiful and the people I met were good and kind. I'm proud to have relatives there, and I regret not getting to know them sooner. It was with some regret that I boarded my flight back to the madness of Los Angeles. I don’t know when, but I will return for a longer vacation to soak up the peace and quiet of rural Kentucky.
And yes, I bought some Kentucky moonshine to take home with me. The liquor made from hemp seeds was vile, but the traditional bourbon was wonderful – a great cure for travel or anything else that ails you.