About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water. After twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live and work in the Ozarks and visit the mountain often. These are stories about the Ozark Wilderness written from a women deeply influenced by this special place.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Bad" Weather

Today I watched the rain and listened to the radio while sipping coffee. I looked out at the water coming off the mountain, how it could not be absorbed by the dusty soil, how it pool and made mud. I watched chirping birds fluff their feathers and sing to the clouds. The surviving patches of greenery—the ivy, lambs ear, and iris leaves—glowed with joy. The forest, rivers, and fields welcome the rain.
The weather man announced that there was a chance of rain in the morning, but not to worry, it would soon stop.  The DJ commented on the precipitation as well, calling the much needed water “dreary weather.” He too wished the rain would go away.
            All I could think about was the disconnection. People, like the DJ or even the weather man, who lived in the city saw precipitation as nothing more than an inconvenience. Hadn’t they heard about failing crops? Had they not seen the arid soil in the medium of the highway? Did they ever look over a bridge into the dry riverbed and wonder what filled it with water each spring?
No. They were oblivious to the drought. The fact that it had not rained more than an tenth of an inch in the past three months did not bother them. The dry weather was nice weather. Rain, by definition, is always bad weather.
I love the rain, the mist lying low over the hills, and the sounds of the forest when the drought is finally broken. I pray that when you stop to smell the roses, you will appreciate the rain that makes it all possible.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas

Overnight, snow sprinkled the brown and grey landscape.



Though it wasn't much, I got my white christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Frosty Eve

Today long awaited water fell from the sky. It formed ice on the pale leaves still clinging to the beech and maple trees. While walking along the road, I saw the ice forming before my eyes. It reminded me of the ice storm of 2009; when frozen shields cocooned every twig on every tree until they bent and broke. It had looked like God came out of the sky with a whim-wham and mowed the forest.
But as the icicles dripped, I signed. Darkness brought more rain but there is talk of snow.
Still, I am dreaming of a white Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Solstice and the Total Lunar Eclipes

It is the solstice, the shortest day of the year, in which darkness rules. I stayed up until four in the morning to watch the total lunar eclipse. I wanted a glimpse of light emerging and retreating in a tangible moment, during these dark times. But the sky was blacked out with think clouds and fog. Staring up into the murky darkness, I was reminded how nature only reveals what it wishes, everything else if left a mystery.   

Taken as the moon emerged...

Friday, December 17, 2010

South of Owls' Knob

I drove south towards Little Rock this morning. I watched the sun rise over the valley below the rolling hills that descends between the peaks of the Boston Mountains and the valleys of Dardanelle Lake. The stark contrast between the northern and southern parts of Arkansas is what makes the Ozarks unique. Up on the mountain, at Owls' Knob, ferns line the hollers and huge oak trees stand tall on the hills and every step is a hike, up or down. But in southern Arkansas the land is flat and soft. Crops cover the plains and marshes fill in the wild gullies in between. Coming out of the mountains, I always feel exposed. Like the trees had protected my privacy and now I stand naked before the world.


The Arkansas River outside Little Rock
 Then I approach the city. Little Rock has that big city vibe, unlike other small towns I frequent to buy groceries, it is filled with fast Mustangs, slow Smart-Cars, rude semi-trucks (which are anything but semi), and rage. Even when I manage to ignore the road rage, the signs confuse me. Being that I am from the countryside, I do not know the language of signs. Cities are so full of signs, telling you where to shop, what to think, where to go, and, oh yeah..., what exit is yours to follow. I am lost, even if I am on the right track. It seems as though my confusion only complicates the situation. A timid, bewildered driver is pushed aside and laughed at. I drive in the city like a gangster would identify Wild Comfery.  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fallen Skeleton

               The first bitter storm of the year shook the trees, making them dance against a blue sky. Through the night, the temperature dropped while stars shimmered. The wind howled, trees swayed. In the middle of the night a crack and pop woke me. The tree fell and it rumbled the ground. As the sun rose, clouds blanketed the sky. With warming weather, I took a walk in the woods. On the top of the hill I found an ancient long dead, but recently fallen. It lies like a skeleton now and the horizon has changed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sparrow's Song

Yesterday, the night's rain lingered,
And the dawn's fog painted the morning grey.
Before noon, sun beams cut through the gloom.
Instantly, the chipping sparrows chirped to the day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Book

For the past year I have been writing a book called Owls' Knob. It consists of stories from my childhood growing up in a log cabin on an Ozark Mountain and recent experiences as an adult returning to my childhood home. While writing this book I took care of a baby, trained a puppy, fixed up an abandoned home, traveled, attended college, and still lived my life. All of this in the past year no less! Yesterday I did the final edits. The book is complete; perhaps not done, but it is all there, rewritten and edited. As I finished editing the final chapters, I dreamed of doing anything but writing. So I am proud to announce the finalization of my book, while excusing myself for not writing on this blog more in the past two weeks. Right now I just want to soak up the silence of a wet winter night.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Frozen Pond


The last few nights have been cold enough to freeze the pond solid.
Ice started collecting around the reeds and rushes along the shore. Every night frost encircled the dull greenery. But as the sheet grew, the same plants that attracted the ice also conducted the daytime sun, melting only circles along the shore. The orbs and crescents froze hard each night and melted each day while a thin layer covered the entire body. The fluctuation surrounding the vegetation created frosty patterns that adorned the perimeter.



I studied the crystalline lace. With a careful step, I tested the ice. Under my weight it creaked like an old wooden floor. Then it cracked. My dog walked upon the water, licking, searching for a drink.


I found a rock that I planned to break the ice with, but when I picked it up I found that icicles hung from the underside, like pillars which were lifting the rock off the ground. Mesmerized, I took the rock back to the house, so my son could share in a fragment of the frigid magic. I took pictures of it with my insufficient camera. The pictures refuse to show the delicate detail, the thin transparent threads. But I saw it, and my son saw it, so the enchantment will shimmer onward.       

Friday, December 3, 2010

Robins

For days, robins frantically flocked through the yard just after dawn. They fought over the crimson dogwood clusters and bright red honeysuckle berries. From tree tops they chirped like arguing in-laws. With their red breast proudly held high, they hopped through the yard. But the smallest noise startled them into the sky, flapping their wings laboriously. They fly with little grace, too heavy for buoyancy. In the afternoon, once they had calmed and found places to perch, the yard felt empty.  I walked to my car to find that they had been sitting in the oak tree above it for hours. Red juices dotted with hard seeds poke-a-dotted my Honda's white paint. A simple rinse would not remove the bird droppings, so for many more days that shit reminded me of the robins.