This vignette is the final installment of the Living Portrait Series glimpse at Kelsey Green. I can't begin to thank the Asheville Citizen-Times, especially Bobby Bradley and Erin Brethauer, for their generosity and encouragement in bringing Kelsey's story to the attention of their readers. I've thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the kind words and comments I've received about the Series, but in honesty, I feel I've done very little. Kelsey has made my job all too easy - her openness, grace and honesty of expression make her the ideal subject for my pictures and words.
While this Series has focused on one person, Kelsey is in a sense symbolic of the many young people I see and engage with in Madison County. As a group they are transparent, hard working and committed to place and community. Our county, like the whole region, has experienced dramatic growth over the last decade, some of it more welcome than others. The infusion of these young people - the baby hippies, the punk kids, the artists and musicians, the pierced and tattooed - has brought fresh energy to Madison County and tells this particular old guy our county is in good hands for the future.
Here is the link to Part 5 on the Citizen-Times website: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/08/28/living-portrait-series-kelsey-green-part/14764205/
This place where we live is full of blessings. If you come here from the outside world and it feels like you belong, then things will happen that make it work out. I feel that way. I stayed here because of it. Things have just happened in the sense that I’m supposed to be here. Things just continue happening to me that give me a sense of belonging. I’m so blessed to have grown up here.
People don’t always accept the new people that come in, but really, you just have to show them you are willing to do the work. If you’re willing to show you can work hard and people see that, they’ll say, “well, you can be a part of this.”
My community as a kid growing up here was church and school, but mostly, it was family. It was very much family – a lot of cousins and aunts and uncles. But now, my family has gotten bigger. I’ve made more connections and you and Leslie and Kate were a big part of that, introducing me into this community, and also working at the town watering hole, Zuma. I still get questions every day – “Where are you from?” When I answer, “right here, this is where I grew up,” people are blown away. There is a like-mindedness here that is like an invitation to stay. I think a lot of people had to leave to try to find something that was similar, or different, or whatever, looking to find that sense of community. But most everyone came back. That was what I realized - I realized that I needed to buy land to do what I wanted to do and here was the place to do that.