Favorite

Rollin' stones 

click to enlarge observer1-1.jpg

The Observer spent a good part of last week working on a story that took us out into nature, which we generally hate. Too many ticks, chiggers, snakes, no-see-ums and poison ivy out there, my friend. We'll stick to the paved roads, thanks.

Going to see a gent up near Red Star, for example, a solid 50 twisty miles from the nearest tow truck or taxi cab, Yours Truly and Mr. Photographer went down the hairiest fire trail we've attempted in a wheeled vehicle since we hit the offroad vehicle park up near Hot Springs for a story some years back. Instead of riding in a lifted Land Rover this time, however, The Observer was white-knuckling it in Spouse's Honda CRV — an SUV, but just barely — glad even at that we didn't take Mr. P's little Ford Fiesta, recently back from sabbaticals at the Grease Rag Spa for an oil leak and a busted transmission. The intrepid ramblers would have surely had to abandon that little Ford at some point in last week's off-roading, high-centered, buried to the hubs in damp clay or just plain ol' conked out and pushed off the road, a coop for owls and doves for the rest of time, covered over with vines, left to return to the earth. We barely made it through as is, with all-wheel drive and a good eight inches more ground clearance.

Up and down and through we went, over rocks and roots and mud, past wildflowers, trees and turtles, doe deer and low-water crossings, out to where the cell service gets spotty and the street signs stop and all the power lines come to an end. The end of the world, right here in Arkansas. There are people at the end of the world, if you can imagine it, happy people, even without all the gadgets and geegaws and coolerators that seem to rule these modern lives of ours and keep us couchbound all summer. Spouse's little Honda, Black Phillip, has seen it all in the past two weeks in our treks out to the mountainous boonies of North Arkansas. At one point in the deep woods, rattling over what appeared to be the partially buried backbone of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the car sounded an ominous "Ping-Ting!" that signifies some metallic thing has fell off and skittered away into the underbrush. We never saw it if it did. A mechanic's lost class ring, perhaps. We hope so, anyway.

There's hearty souls out there in the backwaters and great beyond of north Arkansas, my friend. People living in places where you could do anything you wanted short of getting a no-whip mocha from Starbucks if the mood struck you, the immensity and remoteness of that wild country powerful nerve wracking to city fellers like The Observer and Mr. P, who cracked nervous jokes about "Deliverance" as we rattled over hill and dale in the leopard-spotted shade of the fathoms-deep woods. If the terrifying inbreds who — SPOILER ALERT! — killed Hopper and Fonda at the end of "Easy Rider" are out there, however, we didn't see them. To a person, everybody we met was helpful and kind, generous, passionate about their lives, itching for conversation. We don't know if that's because they just grow 'em polite in the mountains, or because not many folks get out their way. Probably a little of both. It's almost enough to make us change our mind about nature. Maybe if we weren't so afraid of picking ticks and having to find somebody to suck the poison from a copperhead bite out of our ankle, we might have to get out there and ramble more often. Probably not, but it's a thought.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in The Observer

  • Twenty

    Forgive The Observer a public love letter, Dear Reader. A gentleman never kisses and tells, but he is allowed to swoon a bit, and so we will. Last week made 20 years since we wed our beloved in her grandpa's little church way down in El Dorado, two dumb kids with nothing but our lives stretching out before us like an open road.
    • Jul 27, 2017
  • Dumb and smart, at the same time

    The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • -30-

    A newspaper died up in Atkins a few weeks back, not with a bang or a whimper, but with the sound of change jingling in a pocket, just too little of it to keep the printing presses rolling.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Nutt chills Freeze

    Also, Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes the podium and Trump getting less popular in Arkansas.
  • Heights' venerable WordsWorth Books finds new owners

    There's hope for the local bookstore.
  • Twenty

    Forgive The Observer a public love letter, Dear Reader. A gentleman never kisses and tells, but he is allowed to swoon a bit, and so we will. Last week made 20 years since we wed our beloved in her grandpa's little church way down in El Dorado, two dumb kids with nothing but our lives stretching out before us like an open road.
  • For universal health care

    While the U.S. Senate twists itself into a pretzel not passing a health care bill, I'm pleased to see that more and more people are looking seriously at universal health care.
  • Best of Arkansas 2017

    Cream of the shops, and more

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation