It’s Day 420 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are well.
Honestly, I’m having trouble coming up with a blog post that’ll do justice to this day. Deb and I traveled only to a few places, so that’s not the problem. But the impact those places had on our eyes and our souls isn’t something I’m finding easy to describe.
Rain greeted us at sunup, moving out by noon. Deb’s cousin arrived about that time and drove us back to Gray Spring, the natural artesian well we’d visited on Friday — but this time we brought our Nalgene bottles to scoop up some of that water.
We ditched our shoes and socks, rolled up our jeans and waded out across the (surprisingly sharp) rocks to the well head. The payoff was worth it — the sweetest and purest water either of has ever tasted.
If you’ve never had naturally cold spring water, straight out of the side of a mountain, you’re missing out. It has a flavor you won’t get from any bottle, tap or filter. Absolutely amazing.
We moved on from the spring and wound south on Highway 14, working our way up toward an overlook high above the Buffalo River. We had The Ozarks at our feet like a giant green carpet. Far below, the Buffalo meandered through the valley it’s shaped over millions of years.
I couldn’t help noticing that the three of us were all but alone on the side of that mountain. We took in the scene undisturbed, the silence as breathtaking as the view.
Back in the truck, we descended into the valley and to the river itself, ending up at Buffalo Point, where the river makes a sharp bend. The water was clean and clear, the gravel riverbed visible as far out as we could see. Across from us, on the eastern bank, a vertical rock face rose up from the river.
Deb and I walked down to the water’s edge and stood there a long while.
The panorama I shot with my cell phone, striking as it is, doesn’t come close to capturing the grand beauty of the place. I’ve traveled a lot in my life, but Buffalo Point is like nowhere else I’ve ever been.
Like our stop at the overlook up on the mountain, again the three of us had the place almost all to ourselves. We sat and talked for a couple of hours, gazing out over the river and up at the bluffs. Then, at one point, Deb’s cousin said quietly, “There he is.”
We looked up to see a bald eagle glide past where we were sitting — graceful, magnificent and remarkably close. It was the first time that Deb had seen a bald eagle in the wild, a moving experience for her and for me as well.
There’s little doubt that if we’d stayed at Buffalo Point as long as we wanted to, we may never have left at all.
We drove back into town, the town that’s threatening to supplant Bucksnort, Tennessee as my all-time-favorite place name — Flippin, Arkansas.
It was time for us to reprovision, and the best place to do that was the Flippin Walmart. We stuck to our shopping list and grabbed essentials, of course, but we also treated ourselves to some fresh-baked pastries. We felt like we’d earned it.
Over dinner tonight Deb and I re-lived the day, agreeing that we’d notched yet another highlight. Today was truly special — and we’re only 18 days into this odyssey.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.