The Road

_C1_4856In January 2002, a British man named Rory Stewart walked alone across Afghanistan. He went from village to village along his eastward path for hundreds of miles, passing ancient ruins, feet of snow and militia men who didn’t care much for him, you might say. A police officer in the city of Herat guaranteed his death. Stewart later wrote a fantastic book about his walk called The Places in Between. I read it all during a travel writing workshop more than a year ago.

I didn’t do anything like Stewart’s walk this weekend, but I love the title, and on the way to and from Eureka Springs for some Christmas shopping, I found a few places in between.

_C1_4851One place is a hundred-foot observation tower, which a sign said was used by the Arkansas Forestry Commission back in the day. A wide, one-story gift shop with an underground, rock-walled bathroom and a kind older woman behind the counter stands nearby.

I’m focusing on the places in between because my photo attempts in town were pretty lackluster. I was distracted by my goal — or maybe I just need to get better.

_C1_4892The Crescent Hotel, also known as America’s Most Haunted Hotel (TM).


_C1_4880And then it was time to go back. I’ll tell you, the area around Beaver Lake’s northern edge as the sun sets is a special place in between.


_C1_4898(Don’t worry, I looked both ways.)


_C1_4972There’s a cliché out there about journeys and destinations that you might be familiar with; my editor at work hates clichés. I’ll just say it’s always worth looking out the window.

Thanks for looking,


The Stage

_C1_2392This sunset came Friday — a perfect birthday gift. It was a tough week here. On Thursday, a solitary locomotive a few miles south of Fayetteville collided with a small, stationary passenger train it had been sent to help. No one was killed, but most of the 50 or so people on the two trains were jostled around pretty well, and a few were seriously injured. The AP and the Wall Street Journal had picked up the news by the time I left work.

It was a lot for us at the newspaper to deal with, but obviously the ordeal was far more agonizing for many people on the trains, including the driver of the aiding locomotive, who officials said was among the most severely wounded. I hope everyone recovers as well as they can.

_C1_2358Within half an hour of the accident, several dozen emergency responders in ambulances, fire trucks and deputy cars swarmed Highway 71 near the tracks, including a lot of volunteer firefighters I recognized. At least half a dozen agencies were involved coordinated their efforts. Even Benton County to the north sent ambulances southward to make sure all of this county remained covered.


_C1_2382Whatever’s going on with us humans, the seasons keep moving on.



_C1_2424As the sun neared the horizon Saturday, giants made of papier-mache and cloth gathered in Fayetteville’s Wilson Park to put on a play: It was time for the eighth annual Puppets in the Park. At least a hundred people, mostly families, sat and stood in a semicircle to watch a story about good and evil told only with music, gestures and caricatured masks.







_C1_2525Here, the Coyote leads the small Mud People to a better home, watched over by gods of the Sun and water. The goats helped. It was a simple, archetypal story, and the crowd gamely supplied enthusiastic cheers for the Mud People and boos for the grotesque villains along the way.

I’d never seen anything like it in person, but I loved it. The play felt old somehow, as if it were the re-enactment of a religious tradition kept for hundreds of years somewhere else in the world. The Art Experience of Fayetteville, which organized the event, also gave the story a political edge, setting it in the context of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who came to the U.S.’s southern border earlier this year.




_C1_2606The show ended with dancing.

My birthday weekend drew to a close today, but this evening I finally got what I wanted most after a tough week: a hike.



_C1_2691---CopyThanks for looking, and take care of yourself.


Looking Up

_C1_2147A cold front powered through this area a couple of days ago, trimming another 20 degrees off of our daily highs. The clouds that came along with it were mesmerizing, starting with these undulating, apocalyptic examples Thursday night that arrived at the end of an already soaked day.

_C1_2175Friday afternoon I was lucky enough to catch the back end of the cold wave, seen here leaving southward. Right above me, the sky was a blank blue; behind me to the north, a contingent of puffy cumulus clouds was moving in.

_C1_2196Later that afternoon I glanced toward the sun in time to see the faint brush-strokes of these cirrus clouds surrounding it, seen here streaming from behind a prismatic clump of lower-level water vapor. Topping it all off, northwest Arkansas was treated to a spectacular sunset last night.

_C1_2210I love clouds. Thanks for the show, nature.


Summer’s End

_C1_1424Fall begins Tuesday and highs in the 90s have vanished from the forecast. With summer’s end come fall sports, politics, shorter days and more pants. I tried getting a sample of these changes this week.

I’ll start with the boys surfing cardboard, above. The Razorbacks once again trounced their opponent, and a celebration for parents and families meant a bit more activity around the student union, including some singing along to classic rock covers:



_C1_1452Also on Saturday, the opponents of Fayetteville’s anti-discrimination ordinance turned in more than enough petitions to bring the ordinance to a public vote. The law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from being fired, evicted or turned away from a business because of their identity, along with a few other groups. (I took some photos outside the City Council’s vote on the law here.)

The opponents question whether such discrimination is a problem and say the law takes away from business owners’ rights. If enough of those signatures are verified in the next week or two, the vote would probably come in December or January.

These next several weeks will bring plenty more politics for us to cover, so wish us luck.


_C1_1298All right, that’s enough news for this post. The rest I’ll devote to summer’s fading light.








_C1_1258The Bikes, Blues & BBQ Motorcycle Rally begins Wednesday and looks to bring a few hundred thousand people to the region. Surely I’ll get at least a couple of photos from the crowd for next time, right?

Thanks for looking!