Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sleeping beneath Southern Lights

Readers of this blog know that I’ve written about being a poor writer. Jobs in the arts don’t exactly pay like jobs in finance. So many of the journals I’ve appeared only offer publishing credit and not payment. I walk a tightrope between wanting to see my work in print and insisting that I am reimbursed for my effort. Anyway, suffice it to say when I drove down to Kentucky for the Book Festival I wasn’t planning on staying at a hotel.

I’m a couchsurfing host in Chicago and went that route first—only one person responded to my request, with the reply that they were busy that weekend. Then I googled camping to find that RIGHT NEXT TO the Horsepark All-Tech Arena was the Horsepark Campground. It seemed like a good idea until the day I left Chicago—in the midst of flurries, with a week of BELOW average temperatures.

I had a few concerns, but took extra layers.

I’m a pro at camping, and have had experience sleeping outside in cold. I just didn’t know if I wanted to do it the night before a book show.

When I pulled into the campground, though I began to get excited. They were ground zero for an outdoor light festival called Southern Lights. Imagine synchronized lights, horses galloping, tin soldiers marching, snowflakes softly falling. There were lights displaying the twin spires of Churchhill Downs, jockeys leading horses, gingerbread houses, and horse stables=all lit up for the season.

After setting up my small tent I walked the circuit and then crawled inside my sleeping bag with the lights glowing around me. It was like falling asleep in a Winter Wonderland.

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