Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rivers and River Towns

I have been home in Kentucky for a couple of days and it has been nice. I just headed on here Saturday after spending Friday night in Kansas City after getting the Clinton tickets.

I went to the river today, as I do everytime I'm in Kentucky. When I talk about going to "the river," I'm really talking about going to Illinois to the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, near Cairo. Yes, it's named after the Egyptian city, but it's pronounced differently. The one in Illinois sounds more like CARE-roe. But, it was named after the one in Egypt because of the river connection - same as Memphis.

As I usually do at the river, I collected some driftwood and took some photos. I have some art projects in mind for the driftwood.

That ripple that you can see in the water is where the Ohio and the Mississippi run together. It's the Mississippi on the right and the Ohio on the left.

Tomorrow I drive home. It takes about 12 hours to get from my brother's house in KY to my house in KS. It's a lot of time to think. The other day driving here I really didn't think much about my life - I'm not sure why, but I just listened to the radio and some podcasts and didn't do much thinking, plotting or planning like I usually do. Maybe my brain just needed a break.

I have been pretty overwhelmed the last couple of months but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I completed some projects while here, which is nice. Sometimes I can focus better and think better in a different environment.

After going to the river today I drove on into Cairo to look around. It was once a thriving town - we used to go shop there when I was a kid - but it has really gone downhill.

Many of the building on the main drag near the river levee are just falling apart. Some have collapsed. In some ways it's a beautiful bit of "urban" decay. I think it would make an amazing "portrait" of a town in decline. I didn't have time today to take all the pix I wanted to take but maybe next time I'm here I'll go over in the morning and in the afternoon to get sun on a variety of things and do a better job.

Even in the ruin you can see the beauty that once was.

This was one of the few businesses still operating in that area and the building is a stellar example of the "porthole" windows so common in Cairo and other river towns. Much of the architecture in towns like Cairo traveled up river from New Orleans, so you'll see some of the same styles you expect in the deep south river towns.

There are some bright spots there, though, including the library built in 1883, which is a stunningly beautiful building, with lots of stained glass.

Hopefully one day soon I'll get around to working on some more of the photos I took today and sharing more of the town. Cairo has some beautiful mansions and some incredibly run-down areas. It's a microcosm of urban life in a small town.

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