Coming Back

IMG_9979Home, for me, has long been a complicated word. We moved from Springfield, Mo., up to Nebraska before my third grade year. A decade later, I went down the road to the University of Nebraska. A month later, my family moved back to Springfield.  As I deepen my roots in yet another state, I realize the day before college was the last time “home” was singular.

This is a time of many returns for me, though. I went up to Springfield this past weekend and remembered something I always forget — how nice it can be to come back to board games and cookouts and three-hour conversation. Life is flowing back with the spring, life I breathe in from each breeze and storm. And in a couple of weeks, I’ll be going back to Nebraska for the first time since August. This a good time for me.







IMG_9985Having three homes is tough. They wrench time from each other. But they amplify each other, too. Nothing helps boost appreciation for something like losing it, even for just a while. In a way, I think, life has been a chain of losses and returns. The loss sure sweetens the taste of returning. Sometimes I think one home would be nicer, but with each loss I value each home with greater intensity.

On a lighter note, the same delight in returning applies to spring. I’m a broken record, but man, I’ve missed it.





IMG_0032However many homes you have, whatever form they take and whatever takes you away, I hope you get to return.

Thanks for looking,


Hey, Lightning, It’s Been Too Long

_C1_2003The wind had slowed but the air was restless. Huge ribbons of cloud swept across the sky, framing stripes of inky black dotted with tiny but fiercely blue pinpricks.

The wind quickened. Chains clanged against flag poles. From the northwest lightning flashed silently, hidden within the clouds’ translucence. Then from the southwest. Then from the south. Flashes like camera bulbs, one after another with hardly any pause between. Still no thunder.

The wind gusted, blowing the first raindrop right in my eye. More drops fell, tapping the concrete and the grass. The first rumble of thunder.


I love storms. Living in Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and now Arkansas means no shortage of them, but oh, how I’ve missed them. Their energy always has made me giddy.

But I have a lot more skill with people and buildings than with the unpredictable speed of lightning. I have a few hundred frames of nothing but black. The clouds were torn apart, their depths lit by blue bolts. And there were so many bolts, more than I’ve seen in a long time.

And out in this storm was a crew of highway workers. This afternoon a worker fell from the Interstate 540 bridge over Porter Road. He was conscious and alert when the firefighters and ambulances got there, but his injuries were severe, a fire department captain told me. I don’t know his name or how he is now.

More than 100 road workers die each year in their work zones. Give him your good thoughts, if you’re so inclined, and be careful out there.


Thanks for looking.


At World’s End

_C1_1566If you drive east on Fayetteville’s W. Martin Luther King Boulevard, past the university campus and Popeye’s Chicken, eventually you’ll get to School Avenue. Turning left will take you to the square, bar row and my office.

I almost always turn left. Yesterday I turned right.

_C1_1533There were plenty of people around, but nearly all of them were hidden away in the cars passing by. Parking lots were nearly empty in front of liquor and hardware stores and pawn shops. Even buildings I’m sure people live in seemed abandoned.



As I continued southward, featureless, steel-blue clouds spread from the west and blocked the sun, and this feeling of abandoned-ness only intensified. At a wrecked gas station, a bright red rain gutter hung diagonally down to the asphalt, somehow wrenched from the eaves. Several cars, a Hostess truck and a small, hunter-orange excavator were strewn in one of half a dozen overgrown junkyards. A creek from under the road stunk with an oily smell, the kind that clogs up your nose with a whiff. 

Farther south the traffic fell. Every side road was labeled a dead end. One of these curved through a neighborhood where the first mailbox read “Wrong Turn!!!” These houses seemed empty, too. Some yards were filled with trash and equipment,  or a blanket of brown leaves. Satellite dishes with missing parts and twisted stems grew from another.

Woody vines curved around the rails of a wheelchair ramp that led nowhere. Across the street three stoves were lined up near an old shed near rusted hulk of a boat sat on a rickety wooden platform (apparently something of a pattern here).

If it hadn’t been for the occasional traffic to the west, like a distant waterfall, I might’ve expected a walker to emerge from the tangled pines any second.








_C1_1636This was a new level of urban decay, but as with many things people ignore or forget, it was fascinating to me. The area might be Fayetteville’s answer to Emma Avenue.

About two was miles south of my starting point sits the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, where the bail bonds signs take over and I turned around. On the way back I saw a few more signs of life, and not just of humans. The plants around here seem to think spring has arrived or something. Rain started to fall as I got back to my car.




_C1_1634I hope they’re right. Thanks for looking!


Crystal Bridges

IMG_9891It looks like some serious rain is moving through the state tonight, but around midday it was warm and (occasionally) sunny. I headed up to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for my first photos from Bentonville.



IMG_9893Opened in 2011 with a relatively small piece of the Walton family fortune, Crystal Bridges is many things: a free art museum, a sculpture garden, a nature park. It also provided for some nice images. Besides admiring the carved woods and molded ceramics, people of every age group were jogging or biking the trails, shepherding little ones and snapping selfies with the rust-coated LOVE sculpture.



IMG_9907Once again, I can’t wait for this place to get some green leaves on these branches.




IMG_9947As always, thanks for looking.