Collection development librarian, UALR
My favorite place in Arkansas is right outside my back door in my backyard. It is the space where for the last 16 years I’ve planted every plant I could beg or buy as I made myself a garden. Part of my pleasure in this space is that I have been successful in transforming what 16 years ago was a place for pine trees, sweet gums, and a shrub or two, into what some might call a jungle of wildflowers, tropical plants, fruit trees, and a few grasses and vegetables. No matter what it’s called, this is my own little Eden, my haven.
There is a pin oak in the center of the yard that is now about 20 feet tall. I remember planting it. Now it shades my houseplants and the bench I sit on when I want to relax and enjoy the birds and the flowers. I sometimes sit on this bench and discover blooms I hadn’t noticed before, or a plant I thought had died that is striving valiantly to live, or a plant that is in need of tending because it’s under attack by bugs or a disease. Then I feel useful.
The garden is my favorite place because in it I can feel the kind of peace I do not feel anywhere else. At the end of a long day or early on a Saturday morning when I go into the garden and see the flowers, the trees and the birds I almost always smile because I am in a place of refuge where not much can intrude. In the garden I have choices to make. I can work: There is always plenty to do. I can turn a compost pile, or dig a hole for a newly acquired plant. I can indulge in the less physical but equally satisfying pleasure of deadheading flowers, or dividing perennials and potting them up for another spot in the yard or for a friend.
Sen. Jonathan Dismang ran into opposition but still passed his bill to add UAMS, the State Hospital and college athletic events and venues as exceptions to legislation signed yesterday to expand where qualified concealed carry permit holders may take weapons. The NRA will fight the changes in the House.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.
Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.