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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blooming

Flowers bloom and wilt quickly; fleeting reminders of our mortality. Yet, unlike animals, I am able to capture such beauty in a frame. I am even able to share it with you, despite time and space. It is no wonder that some tribal people were terrified of cameras and thought that it stole the soul. Perhaps it does steal something from the world, by preserving the temporary and making the unique ordinary.  


There was a time when words were all we had. When only an artist could share a picture to tell those thousands of words. But now with thousands of pictures that image shares less words. And there is less to say. Old books spend pages describing what the reader has never seen. Now novels are brief, blunt, and fast pace. There is no need to describe what can be googled. I have no reason to elaborate upon the bowing head of the Trout Lilly. How her splotchy leaves flutter like fish in the wind. Because the picture says it for me, it is even blurry from the movement.  


Things are always changing, like the seasons, like the wilting daffodils. I can not deny my love for photography even if I am stealing a piece of something precious from nature. I am also sharing and creating a dynamic with you that could never exist without technology. So like nature, I am adapting to the changes of time: my pictures are multiplying and my words are becoming more concise.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Restless Winter Past



The daffodils are in full bloom, signaling the arrival of spring. The frogs are singing at dawn and dusk. Birds are migrating by the flocks; every morning the song changes. The other night, the toads migrated by the dozens. I had to tiptoe through the darkness so I wouldn’t step one. And a found a salamander emerging from hibernation. So much is happening I can not find the time to write about it on this blog.  
Spring is the season of rebirth. And human almost completely miss out of the process. Unlike all the other animals and plants in seasonal places, we refuse to let the winter stop us. When the sun leaves the sky and the days are too short, we change time itself to better suit our needs; or is it just the needs of employers who have eight-hour-workday employees. If the temperature drops and all logic tells us to stay in bed or close to the fire, we still press on, with heaters blasting.
While the bears slow their heart rate and metabolism so that they seem nearly dead, we set our alarm clocks and wake before dawn. Under our scurrying feet, frogs use a chemical in their blood to keep their hibernating body from freezing solid. We have learned to overcome evolution and adaptation with technology. Instead of striving for generations to grow thicker skin, we learn in a single lifetime to make coats. (And that is better until for some reason we can not find the resources to make any more coats.)
So when the warm winds of spring arrive, the rest of the world comes alive. The frogs defrost and rise to the surface of ponds to sing mating songs. Bears emerge from dens in search of food once again. And we reset time, continuing as usual. For the past week, the full moon has pulled me down into a bed during the day and kept me up late. It’s unusually heavy gravitational pull is throwing my internal clock off even after humanities artificially messed with my external clocks.
In short, spring is here and I do not feel rested. But with such radiant beauty outside, I can not find the time to explain myself anymore. Besides, what are you doing reading blogs on the internet, go watch the world outside unfold and let it recharge you, for the long days of summer are on their way.  




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Breaking Ground


           Zane and I worked in the garden yesterday. The soil was softened by February's freezes and not too wet. The moist dirt is still dark with manure and compost added months ago. Last year I learned that manure will "burn" new plants if it is added too soon before planting. So this spring I have let the soil rest and will plant in it without adding anything to the already enriched soil.


          Once the garden bed had been turned by my large shovel and then Zane's smaller shovel, I planted a few early spring vegetables: Kale, Collards, Spinach, and (my favorite) Snap Peas. These plants can endure the frozen nights of March. In fact, my Kale almost made it through the winter but was getting stringy.


           After digging in the dirt, Zane found a mud puddle. I let him stomp in it, since earth is earth to him. He pointed to the ground and asked, "Dat?" I told him, "Mud!" He smiled joyfully and proclaimed, "Mud!" These are important moments. If anything can connect his heart to the earth, it is pure earth.