Two years ago today, we spent our first night in Ozarkansas.
That morning we left a campground in Springfield, Missouri, rolled down US 65 to Harrison and traversed Marion County on US 62. After crossing the White River, we drove the bus north until we pulled up to the shore of Bull Shoals Lake.
Deb and I talked about that moment just the other day. Everything about it — the serenity of the Lakeview campground, watching the sun set over Bull Shoals, hiking with the dogs the next afternoon — validated the choice to undertake our journey.
Now the area is familiar. It’s our stompin’ grounds. It’s Home.
While running ’round the countryside with our Texas friends ten days ago, we pulled into that campground and drove by the site we’d occupied in 2021. We remembered, and we smiled.
(Today’s header image preserves our first look at Bull Shoals Lake, the evening of May 12th, 2021.)
Each of the trailcams we’ve deployed on The Mountain records a test image at the same time every day. Here’s a couple from the camera near the summit — one from a bright Wednesday and another from our rain-soaked Thursday.
I’m struck by the differences — color, light, shadow and mood.
As long as I’m sharing trailcam pics, here’s another.
When I opened my eyes this morning, I rolled over and glanced at my phone — 4:51am. Coincidentally, that was when our lower Stealth Cam, christened “Mountain One,” caught our resident bobcat as he walked through the small clearing.
That spot is 27 vertical feet higher and just 50 yards east of where our fifth-wheel will be.
I think it’s time for a little humor. And rarely have I seen anything so chuckle-worthy as the “town hall” the other day on The Network Nobody Watches. It was meant to injure Trump, but instead it boosted both his profile and his poll numbers.
The butt of the joke was the white-pantsuited chick conducting the interrogation. She’d rehearsed her angry-liberal act, put on her best bitchface, altered her voice — because gravitas — took a deep breath and… got owned.
She was laughably out of her depth. What I saw of the performance was hilarious, especially when I pictured what she surely did once she was out of camera range — curled up on the floor in a corner, crying, rocking.
It wasn’t a town hall. It wasn’t an interview and it sure as hell wasn’t journalism. It was, in fact, just another insipid, anti-American progressive walking unarmed into a battle of wits. That’s entertainment.
No appointments to keep today. Nothing on our calendar (such as it is). This, as we imagined it, would be a day simply to savor, to get up on The Mountain and dream some, fiddle a little, maybe nest a bit more.
Checked the post office box. Grabbed cheese at Harps. Looked for activity at Carolyn’s Razorback Ribs, which must be getting close to reopening after their fire last fall.
Coming up the north approach to the homesite, Deb and I noticed downed branches on the driveway — I mean, the last two nights were stormy and all, but in Harrison we hadn’t seen that kind of wind. Then we noticed that a large oak and a smaller red cedar on the lower level had been felled.
As in cut down.
Deb’s cousin had removed two of several trees that needed to fall to clear the utility right-of-way — a welcome surprise. Today would be the day he’d come back with his tractor and full-size chain saw to bring the rest down.
Frankly, I wasn’t ready for that. My back’s been out for two weeks. Even everyday chores aggravate it. But postponing the job (so that I could contribute in a more respectable way) wasn’t an option. And I can’t just watch someone else work, especially when they’re doing it out of kindness.
We grabbed our little DeWalt chainsaw from the shed, choosing it over the two-stroke Stihl just to see what it could handle. It proved plenty stout, capably felling a thirty-foot cedar. Color me impressed.
Deb’s cousin took care of dropping a pair of mature oaks and a large snag. I helped chain them up to the tractor and he dragged them over to our ever-growing brush pile. Once he’d left, I used the electric saw to clear the rest of the small stuff down by the road.
I really didn’t do much, and yet the searing pain in my back told me that I’d done a lot more than I should’ve. Sitting down at the picnic table with Deb, all I could manage was to chug a bottle of water. I skipped the celebratory lunch she’d packed, and after stowing our tools we didn’t hang around.
Thanks to Deb’s cousin’s help, however, the right-of-way is clear. We return now to setting our own pace — the task in front of us is getting the fifth-wheel up onto The Mountain and turning it into comfortable temporary quarters in our forever Home. Nothing else matters. Once we actually have funds to green-light the electric, which will be a while, that tree-clearing work already will be done.
And that’s a good thing.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.