Since the Great Sand Dunes, I’ve been restless. The spring in the air and on the trees isn’t helping. I want to see new things, to soak in as much of the world as I can, come across different people and places and record them from a fresh angle.
I know two ways to do this: go to an unfamiliar place, and sink a bit further into the familiar until I see something different. I don’t know how good I am at either, but they seem like a solid plan. I tried both this past weekend — first at the farmers’ market in Fayetteville’s square, where I’ve been a hundred times, and at Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area, a section of the Ozark National Forest that was new to me.
This is Alex. She had a great smile and a great headscarf and a great plant that she walked with around and around the square — I kept seeing its branches poking above the crowd. She seemed like one of those people who are friends of everyone who passes by. I obviously had to ask for her photo.
Caves, limestone mushroom-rock columns and sandstone bluffs puncture the forest canopy in the Pedestal Rock Scenic Area, a little section of the national forest where spring has dyed the mountains yellow and light green. Its two loop trails together offer a three- or four-hour trek, which seems like the minimum for a hike after the dunes. The weather was perfect, room temperature and breezy. My trusty hiking partner Ryan came, too.
The pedestals are often at least 10 feet from the nearest bluff; I wonder if anyone has ever stood on them. One of the columns looked just like a chemistry flask. Meanwhile trees grow straight out of the bluffs’ lumpy rock.