Saturday dispatch from the campsite

We didn’t do much actual work while we were on The Mountain yesterday. What little we did, though, was satisfying — moving dirt and pitching rocks, dropping a cedar and a couple of white oaks, managing one of our deer-baiting spots.

I can’t recall the last time I swung a mattock. It felt good.

After we finished tackling those few tasks, we flopped to rest in camp chairs we’d hauled up in the bed of the Ranger. Beneath us the forest floor was covered by a thick blanket of leaves. Above and around us the trees allowed new views of sky and terrain that haven’t been possible during greener months.

From my perch I could watch the late-day sun paint the flanks of Hall Mountain, a sight I hadn’t seen since March. That adjacent mountain takes the form of a long, meandering ridge with numerous false peaks, its highest point 300 feet above the summit of our mountain. It’s surprisingly imposing, shadow and sentinel, a constant companion.

As I’ve said many times, it’s good to feel dwarfed now and then.

This is the best time of year to be anywhere, it seems to me, but especially in the woods. We don’t get to witness fall thrice, like we did a year ago, but this time we’ve been more immersed in it on The Mountain. The place is familiar to us now, and it’s Home. It feels different. It looks different.

We notice more. It’s almost as if we’ve been given permission to do that.

We’ve become more intentional.

Even on our regular “commute” east from Harrison, as soon as we leave US 65 in Bellefonte we treat each trip as an experience. We stay awake and we pay attention. We look around. We take pictures. We’ve learned that there’s much to discover and even more to see.

Autumn is, in my opinion, the perfect season for exercising our curiosity.

On our way back to the campground yesterday we stopped at the Friend Orchards Farm Market. We’d been waiting for the roadside stand to put out a sign announcing the arrival of tart Arkansas Black apples, and this was the day. We grabbed a few, along with golden delicious, a bag of dried apple rings, a jar of corn relish and some cheese.

The package of Amish Swiss I chose, by the way, was produced in Walnut Creek, Ohio, just 20 miles from where I grew up. I love coincidences like that. Great cheese, too.

Oh, and the corn we put out Friday brought deer back to the camera near the summit, first time that’s happened in over a week. Check out the image from “Mountain Two” at the end of today’s post.

This afternoon, we got rain. Life is good.

I haven’t said much recently about politics, popular culture or current events. Maybe you’re thrilled about that but, whether you like it or not, I think it’s time for me to drop a few observations on you. Read on or scroll past — your call.

First, politics. Ten days out from the mid-term general election, conventional wisdom tells us that Republicans will make big gains. Conservatives thump their chests about an inevitable “red wave.” Progressives strut false humility. (That’s called “lowering expectations,” and it’s smart.)

Nothing is assured. As much as current conditions demand a “red wave,” I don’t see it happening.

The GOP will pick up seats in the House, I believe, but it won’t achieve a majority in the Senate. In fact, I expect Dems to gain a seat or two.

Why? Low turnout, apathy, flawed candidates and hype that doesn’t match facts on the ground. We’re about to be delivered a stark reminder that We, the People, are surrounded by idiots who hate America.

When the drunk octogenarian husband of the drunk octogenarian House Speaker was attacked at his home yesterday morning, he “defended” himself in a way that must make every radical leftist proud — with a hammer. (Authorities haven’t disclosed whether or not it was an “assault hammer.”)

It was the right decision, as it turns out — reportedly the perp beat him with his own hammer. Had the Third Man employed a handgun, he probably would’ve been shot with it.

I don’t hope that things like this happen, of course, nor do I celebrate when they do. I simply don’t care.

Let me repeat that: I don’t care.

While Democrats and other progressives strain to make this attack about politics (it’s not), I remember how they reacted when the target was Steve Scalise. Rand Paul. Christopher Monzon. Brian Terry. Ashli Babbitt. Lee Zeldin. The 25 Americans killed in the 2020 race riots. The 61 dead and 867 injured at a country-music concert in 2017. To say nothing of the Left’s demented obsession with January 6th.

So no, I don’t give a rat’s ruddy ass about what happened to Paul Pelosi.

The South is The Land of Billboards. I remember that from when I was a kid, peering out the windows of the family wagon as we drove through the Carolinas and Georgia on our way to Florida. I’m happy to report that it’s still that way.

One thing differentiating roadside placards here from those, say, in the upper Midwest is that it’s not uncommon in The South to see principled and unabashedly American messages. Where once “Impeach Earl Warren” signs stood, billboards now proclaim “Let’s Go Brandon,” “Trump Won, Biden Cheated,” “Pray for Our Troops” and more.

The image I’ve included above depicts a pair of billboards that until recently appeared on US Route 65 at the Harrison city limits. Such a photo also illustrated a formulaic 2014 NPR story about how irredeemably racist this town is, calling Harrison “a hotbed of hate.” That fits nicely with The Holy Progressive Narrative.

If only it were true.

Yes, the vast majority of this region’s residents are white. That’s a big problem for Leftist media because, naturally, it’s The South. And, of course, the “wrong” race is in the majority.

Doubt me? Then ask yourself this — when was the last time you saw a similar report on Detroit because its population is overwhelmingly (83%) black?

Harrison, like much of The South, has an unflattering history on matters of race, a history that it’s moved beyond but which the Left can’t let go of. Oh, the town has a pesky pocket of “white guilt” that busies itself signaling virtue, but those people are trying to solve problems that don’t exist.

NPR and its progressive media cronies like to tar places like Harrison, Arkansas with present participles like struggling, grappling, wrestling, all meant to convey that its residents haven’t yet learned how to behave. But y’know, they want to. They’re really trying.

Well, let me tell you somethin’ — folks ’round here ain’t grapplin’ with shit.

Deb and I have been in northern Arkansas for the better part of a year, and we can testify that Harrison (and the surrounding area) is no province of prejudice. If you’ve heard otherwise, it’s a lie.

Are there bigots here? Sure. But honestly, we saw far more overt racism in the “tolerant” urban North than we’ve ever seen here. Anyone who wants to bash “white supremacy,” whether in The South or elsewhere, had better be prepared to condemn with equal vigor the cultural poison of Black Lives Matter, affirmative action, et al.

What you’ll find here is an America of tradition and people who aren’t the least bit interested in giving up their values. We’re good with that — billboards and all.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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