This photo essay is featured in the “Home” issue of Louisville Magazine produced in partnership with Louisville Public Media.

Happily taking my leave with a hot whiskey pour lingering on my upper lip, a street corner beckons my gaze. The utility box peppered with layers of paint-marker tags holds my attention for half of a smoke. An intersection with no-walk signs in every direction signaled by big red-lit hands, about the same size as mine. Fourteen, 13, 12…. If the cigarette is a fuse, a timer of sorts, you’ll need to wait three-quarters of one of these if you want to cross this road. But jaywalking is our God-given right. Our world’s most mundane sights have earned my longest, most cherished stares.

Anxiously stepping onto the sidewalk, the wild feeling behind my eyes has made it apparent that I need a break. I don’t know anyone here. I thought I knew everyone. Perhaps, if I stand here long enough, a friend will rescue me with a familiar smile. Maybe I’ll leave. In the meantime, I have found a new home as I open the door for my favorite new stranger. They quickly offer thanks in passing. A cigarette bounces on my lips as I greet them with my squinting, smiling, “You’re so very welcome.”

Maybe it’s you and me this time around. I’ll light up two at once and greedily take a long, hot drag. Or we can share mine, as long as you don’t hog it. Finish this bad boy off once it’s a few puffs from the filter.

I note the irony of stepping out for a breath of fresh air just to be met by whichever funky fuse rests between my middle and forefinger. Would you like one? It’s really no bother.

Welcome home.

Black and white photo of Jefferson street sign with city hall in the background.Jon Cherry

City Hall as seen from Jefferson Square Park.

Black and white photo of building and mural with butterfly saying the person with no imagination has no wings.Jon Cherry

Entering the Russell neighborhood.

Black and white photo of fountain in park with American flag raised in the background.Jon Cherry

Jefferson Square Park, where I documented the 2020 protests.

Black and white photo of crowd in front of a building.Jon Cherry

A crowded hardcore music night at Kaiju on East Oak Street.

 

Black and white photo of Louisville mural on wall.Jon Cherry

The skate park near the new soccer sta

Black and white photo triangular beams agains the sky.Jon Cherry

The visitors’ center at the McAlpine Locks and Dam.

Black and white photo looking at a house in the distance out a window.Jon Cherry

The view from my home in the Highlands. It’s the first thing I see in the morning.

Black and white photo of chopped fire wood pile in front of buildingJon Cherry

A pile of firewood at Full Stop (at “the Oak Street Wedge”).

Black and white close up of cigarette butts in a bin.Jon Cherry

The loading dock at Logan Street Market.

Black and white photo of utility poll with traffic control box.Jon Cherry

The corner of Hepburn and Barret avenues.

Black and white photo of path surrounded by trees.Jon Cherry

Cherokee Park.

Black and white photo of fire escape with ac units on it.Jon Cherry

530 W. Main St., where I used to park when going
to photograph at Jefferson Square Park during the 2020 protests.

Hammock hanging in grove of trees.Jon Cherry

My secret spot in Cherokee Park.

Black and white sunset over river.Jon Cherry

Falls of the Ohio State Park

Tell us — what does home mean to you? We hope you’ll take a few minutes to reflect and answer these questions.