I left off when I arrived in Arkansas after my lovely sojourn in North Carolina.
My mom welcomed me home Wednesday and Friday night we were driving off into the wilderness of the Buffalo River to camp with her friends and fellow protesters of the large-scale hog farms threatening the water table in our beautiful river, which is a National Park. We spent the night on private property abutting the park, in a lovely bit of forest where we sat around a fire despite the warmth of the evening.
One of the protesters had brought his guitar and we played music and talked late into the night about a variety of subjects from consciousness to Buddhism. Finally, it was time for bed and I climbed into the back of the truck where mom had made our beds under the hardshell cover that makes for a convenient mobile bedroom.
The next morning we woke early to head to the river and decorate our kayaks and canoes with signs and balloons – mom made a large pig from bubble wrap and someone else had improvised a pig from a beach ball and a water noodle, among other things. It was a great way to draw attention to the need to protect our local environment and a national treasure from being plundered and destroyed by large corporations with no regard for the state or the future of its natural resources. Go mom!
After the protest float, which was a lovely, I drove from the end point back to Green Forest and then to Eureka Springs, where my best friend Jake was celebrating his birthday with his family by Beaver Lake. I found them after some searching at the Dam access and off we went on their boat, zooming across the lake’s glassy green surface.
The whole crew stayed in Eureka that night – Jake’s roommate and three other friends and myself. Jake’s parents had room for us all in their cabin-style place near the lake. We went out to downtown for pizza at Chelsea’s and then ran into my friend Dannelle at a place perhaps called Jack’s – it was new to me and fortuitous that we popped in there for a moment before we headed back to the house, exhausted from so much fun.
The next day we had a little more lake time before Jake et al made their way back to Fayetteville and I meandered back through those mountain roads to my home side of the county for dinner with my folks. It was light out still, till after 7PM and the house is always beautiful in the evening light in early summer.
The next day, dad told us about the tree full of cherries in the orchard that needed picking before the birds saw them and ate them all up. We tramped through the now overgrown orchard and harvested a sweet little bowl of cherries!
Wednesday mom’s friend Tina hosted us for a bonfire and cookout at her property and it was a starlit and dog-filled evening.
Mom and I also got to go to a yoga class in Eureka and I found some amazing dresses for amazingly cheap at the Doggie Shop thrift store where mom volunteers. We shared a couple of papusas from the local purveyor, Luna Luna, and then went home where I cooked up some dinner for us and we shared mom’s famous “sundowners”: wine with lime-arita like sangria. We took the elderly dogs for a walk by the Osage creek where it runs not far up the road from our house, munching greenbriar shoots along the road and examining the flora. Smelling the wild roses.
I drove up to Springfield, Missouri to see my friend Amber, another of the best friends I’ve been fortunate to have throughout my life. We had dinner with her kids, Anamei and Gabe, and then got the chance to catch up and chat about life and what’s happened since we last saw one another.
I had thought I might leave Friday or Saturday to be back in North Carolina and eventually New York sooner. However, I am happy to have extended my stay and gone to Jake’s show on Friday night in Fayetteville. I got to see Jake’s sister, Jessica, and her husband Justin, and I got to hang out with my first best friend, Dannelle. It was awesome! And I got to hear Jake’s band Six Hung Sprung rock out!
I loved getting to see so many great friends! In some ways, I can still go home again.
I headed home that early morning (ouch) to catch a few hours of sleep before mom and I headed out on a river cleaning trip. We joined several other people to paddle down the river and pick up trash, tires, whatever we saw that didn’t belong. It was a beautiful day and we loved every minute of wrestling truck tires from the riverbank’s sandy grasp.
At the end of the day we had 25 tires and several bags of trash and we headed back to base for food and drinks. All told we gathered 120 tires and a bunch of other crap that made its way to the river. We had a jolly party and headed toward home, but we made a stop on the way to visit our friend Lisa’s new baby bulldog! She was adorable!
The next day was Sunday, so off to church I went, like a good girl. I miss the old hymns we used to sing – they had more poetry somehow than modern praise songs. Oh well – I go for mom, anyway. And good to see those familiar faces.
That afternoon we took a walk with dad by the creek and this time too Spanky – mom’s so-called “grief dog” – as she was born the year Erika died and mom had welcomed the new puppy to love.
We had dinner together and drank some Erika wine before I focused on packing up for the return trip back to North Carolina, as I got word that my car had been fixed and was drivable now. It was nice to have that extra time with my mom and dad in our lovely home, with our quirky pets.
I left early the next morning and waved goodbye to my parents as I pulled out of the driveway and away from our wilderness wonderland.
The drive to Durham was grueling and long and rainy, but I managed it and arrived late that night – around 2:30AM. I immediately went to bed.
I had a lovely sunny day in Durham to spend with Mary Caton and I even got to go to a lake with Cameron, whom I met on the previous stop through. It was a nice relaxing day after the stress of the drive. That night I met friends at an open mic in Chapel Hill and enjoyed playing and hearing others.
The next morning I needed to get going as it was time to drop off the rental car and make my way to Richmond to get my car. The solution was a bus and so 3+ hours later, I was there, and finally, back in my own saddle.
I realized as I got used to the transmission again, to the higher ride of this car, a maroon Rav 4, that I am thankful it wasn’t totaled. It is one of the few spaces still extant, which she inhabited. My sister Erika, I mean. I didn’t think I was sentimental about it until I thought about losing it. Losing yet another piece of her. I know it is inevitable, since all physical things pass away eventually, and especially objects are impermanent. But still, it was hers.
Erika the Red.
I drove back down to Durham and packed up my things before making another round of my famous green curry and then heading to Chapel Hill for Cameron’s show that evening at The Cave.
It was great to see friends there and meet other people. The music was fun and the beer was cheap. I like North Carolina 🙂
Though I was out a bit late, as I am wont to do, I made it back to MC’s house for a night of sleep before hitting the road in the morning to head to NYC.
9 hours later, I was in Brooklyn at my cousin Kate’s house, looking after her little bundle of joy (and occasional screams – hey, no one’s perfect!)
I am happy to be back in my own little bed and in a city that, while sometimes cloudy, has not been (knock on wood) as rainy as it could be.
Well, all for now – stay tuned for my further adventures: I am hatching another trip!
Love and miss,