Friday, April 15, 2011

The Good Things

(hypothetical from Pentagram Design's
"Blue Horse" campaign for Lex)
Today seems like such a great day. That whole TGIF thing has never particularly resonated with me, but I have often found Fridays to contain jewels in my life, often in the form of meaningful visits with inspiring people. I can't say why this often happens on Fridays, but I ain't complainin'.

Today, after a morning bike trip to the store, I stopped to visit with an inspirational couple, the Maddocks, who were outside working on the foundations of what will surely be an amazing urban farm, right in the heart of the East End. As we chatted under the glorious Spring sky, I was reminded of the absolutely amazing community growth that's going on right here, right now, in Lexington due to an incredible brew of amazing younger folk like them, who are cheerfully refusing to settle for inadequacies that many have come to take for granted in our town.

I've seen increasing evidence lately that the "old money" in Lexington (and maybe places like it) doesn't know how to change and is increasingly choosing to sequester away from outsiders, i.e. those who aren't moneyed, vast property owners and just … watch Rome burn, is how I feel about it sometimes.

There's not much I can do about that except feel disappointed by it, and look elsewhere for meaningful change. But that change IS happening.

After the CentrePointe controversy — which revolved in some general way around how much say our community had in decisions about our downtown landscape — my good friend (and inspiration) Griff said, with his unique verve, cheer and conviction: "Fuck downtown. We're goin' north."

What I took that to mean was: Why waste valuable energy, resources and inspiration on the traditional space we call "downtown," when there are spaces all over in every direction that are crying out for attention, for an end to the neglect that focusing on "downtown" had previously fostered.

And that's was exactly the kind of evolutionary thinking that's helping to bring out the best in Lexington, I think. As much help as the gray-haired rich-guy business types could help, as much as they could advance this city, they aren't doing it — seemingly out of a lack of interest or possibly because they're afraid or they just don't get it. Maybe they just don't know how to change. It's some kind of terminal bluegrass myopia, and it's corrosive to this city's potential. The question has been asked by smarter people than I: Why isn't Lexington … Austin?

But there is a new rising class of charismatic, smart, conscientious people coming up through the social and business ranks in this town. I've met too many of them to count. And they are changing this town for the better, without much help from "your daddy," Old Lexington.

It's very exciting, because these people are so inspiring. The Seedleafs, and the Broke Spokes, and the Cornbread Suppers, and the Distillery District folks and ProgressLex, and so many more, including the Mayor — they're not just on the way, they're here. And they're making this town so much better than it's been in decades.

I'm glad for that this Friday. That's my inspiration this week and next.

2 comments:

Blake said...

here here!! I'm feeling the rise too.

Rona Roberts said...

It was palpable in the cold rain on Way North Lime on during Friday's Hop. So much good is happening. Lucie's new restaurant at the corner of Loudon and Lime, the upcoming Soul Food place brought to us by one of the Mia-ites, the beautiful people settling into refreshed shotguns on York - a whole new part of the city is lighting up in the best possible way. You're right in the mix of what's bringing it all about, Mighty Mick.