Wonder (illustrated)

While we deal with wintry weather here in northern Arkansas, we’re also mindful of what’s going on back in Ohio. Friends in the northeastern part of the state told us that they had a foot of snow through the overnight hours, with more to come.

I peeked in on the security cameras at Second Chance Ranch this morning. Snow was coming down in central Ohio, too, and by the looks of things it’s windy there as well.

Our own winter storm happened during relatively calm conditions. The snow that fell here — now reported to have been 12 to 14 inches locally — came straight down. There was no drifting. It was odd seeing snow piled high around Ernie and Mercy but bare ground underneath.

With temperatures rising and the sun shining from a cloudless sky this morning, we knew that time was running short to see The Mountain under its blanket of snow. We got underway early and covered the distance quickly, noticing along the way that areas east of here didn’t get as much snow as we had. That was particularly evident in the lowlands between the state highway and The Mountain.

Deb’s cousin had plowed his road yesterday, so we were assured of clear sailing — in a country sort of way. The higher we climbed, the heavier the snow cover became. Cedars bowed to the ground, many of them losing branches.

We parked Mercy at the cabin, uncovered the Ranger and headed back down the road to explore the winter wonderland. Like a couple of little kids, we were enraptured by the simplest things — whitetail tracks (and whitetails), icicles, melting snow tumbling out of the trees and onto Deb’s head. Pulling off the road here and there we waded into the snowy woods, seeing this now-familiar landscape in full winter dress.

The Ranger acquitted itself well, by the way, churning through heavy snow without the slightest difficulty. We chose not to tackle the cut to the summit, however — the trail we cleared isn’t wide enough to allow for an inevitable slide-off, especially likely on descent. And even if we’d tried, a snow-laden cedar blocked the path just a few yards off the road.

It was an amazing visit. We had a ball. On our way out of town we stopped at a tiny Mexican diner and enjoyed sweet tea, chips and salsa, enchiladas, tacos and authentic huevos rancheros — yes, in Yellville, Arkansas.

Earlier today Deb shared a thought-provoking meme on Facebook, pointing out that people who object to others not wearing masks aren’t truly bothered by the absence of a mask — they’re pissed because the The Maskless are “disobedient.”

That’s a very good point. I believe it’s exactly right.

And that got me thinking — when did Deb and I last put on masks?

See, we’re the “disobedient” ones. Hell, we’re downright defiant — since we hit the road in May we’ve refused to patronize establishments requiring masks unless we have no other options. We’ve also been known to ignore signs demanding masks, conducting business bare-faced regardless of the “rules.”

So…when was the last time we donned face diapers?

September 14th, 2021, just after 11am MDT. Deb was in need of a bathroom while we visited Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park — federal property, federal toilet, federal rules. The people enforcing potty policy wore uniforms and carried guns.

Since those five minutes 126 days ago, we haven’t given masks a second thought. Granted, most of that time we’ve been in Free Arkansas — but we’ve also traveled thousands of miles and have done business in six other states. Even during The Great Omicron Panic, we’ve chosen to go maskless.

It’s over when we say it’s over.

Humility is a tough concept for some, maybe for all of us at some point in our lives. We think it makes us weak, or vulnerable, or conciliatory. Nobody wants to be a doormat, and perhaps we believe that’s the price we pay for being humble.

Without confidence we don’t move. But without humility we don’t grow.

A person who’s figured it out knows that confidence and humility can (and must) coexist. It took me a long time to grasp that. I’ll leave you with this: Be humble in learning, confident in action.

That’s all for today.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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