Category Archives: Eureka Springs

Life Doesn’t Wait

I stood in the gravel, looking toward a mixture of history and nature, my head overwhelmed with the fact that just twelve days earlier, I thought I might die. I watched the sunlight through the trees and listened to the background of insects and the bustle of distant voices. The blanket of joy at just being alive and in such a beautiful place flooded me so overwhelmingly that I could barely muster the strength to film myself talking. I stopped filming when I felt my breath catch and the certainty of tears choked me. I’ve watched the clip several times over the last few weeks; each time, I reconnect with the gratitude of such a moment. No one has seen this clip. It’s not because I’m worried about how I look or sound; rather, it’s because I know that no one would recognize how much it took to just say the words without succumbing to the emotion.

It’s 52 days since my surgery. It’s been a year of moments in the interim. But I go back to that Sunday afternoon, knowing I’d be around to figure out what in the hell I am supposed to be doing. My experience was just a blip compared to what others are struggling with. I am so grateful for that decision to visit the place in the woods, so close to so many people and history.

Nevertheless, here’s the takeaway: people are the answer. Not places. Not moments. Sharing your time with friends and loved ones.

Your surprise will come soon enough. It’s inevitable.

If you can, appreciate what you have, who you are, and who you’re with.

Love, X

P.S. I’ll put a picture I took of my surgery incision from the bed when I fully woke up in the comments. It motivates me to overcome my anxiety.

I Lived A Lifetime

I had a bewitching weekend, surrounded by peace and happiness. I took my surgery incision with me, of course, as well as a set of dumbbells and a voracious appetite. Other than experiencing a sliver of sublime living, my goal was to put on five lbs. from Monday until today, work my muscles as if everyday life might intercede at any moment, and amplify the gratefulness I feel. I succeeded on all fronts. From sirloin burgers, to vegetable-loaded mac, waffle chips and sour cream and onion dip, Dot pretzel sticks, sea salt caramel gelato, protein drinks, twenty cups of coffee, and brats with sausage buns, I ate like it was 2020. Maximizing my moments and practicing incrementalism, I also took advantage of the dumbbells, so much so that I might have to buy them dinner.

Life is peeking at me from a conspicuous distance. I’ll remember this weekend; its details are entrenched in my memory. Knowing that people I love were having their own moments, ones punctuated by helplessness, propelled me to focus on savoring the life around me. This carousel might slow at any moment; even the minutes that make me draw my breath in quickly with surprise or dismay will one day be ones to cherish. For here, now: I’m lucky and privileged.

I was cautious over the weekend. For the first time in a LONG time, I opted not to cross any natural bridges or fallen trees. Being prominently featured on The Darwin Awards was very much on my mind. My surgeon might frown on my arrival tomorrow if I were to show up with an abdominal piercing provided to me by limbs jutting out of my intestines. On another note, I’m supposed to get my staples out tomorrow. I’m still holding out hope I’ll get to bring a few home with me to make a souvenir of my guts attempting to strangle me.

I laughed today, discovering that one of my eleven new hobbies transposes to one of my old ones: electronics. From jewelry to stereo, this might be the circle of life. Realizing that I now own a great soldering iron fooled me into thinking that I could easily repair a small stereo I own. It turns out I was right, even though the ‘fix’ followed a circuitous route that defied logic, including, of course, one attempt to solder my finger. After repairing a couple of things, I realized that I could also take advantage of the moment and add a bucket of color even to my stereo. So I dragged out my ample paint collection and got to work. Whether the stereo WORKS or not will be determined in a few minutes, probably in proportion to how loudly the neighbor yells when I crank it up. I’m just kidding; I’m a quiet neighbor. I mainly use the stereo to play 10-hour loops of ambient noise I made myself with Audacity. My favorite is a combination of a box fan, rain, thunder, and a few specialized sounds that are more subliminal than perceptible audio.

Because I already had the paints and platforms laid out, I also painted a large stone I brought back home with me. I love painted rocks. It’s fortuitous that I like painted fingers because I also serendipitously painted my neck, forehead, and even my shirt. Looking closely, I noted that several of the paints cans proclaimed this warning emblazoned along the spine: “Use With Caution. Especially you, X.”

I lived a lifetime in the last few days.

Love, X.

P.S. I forgot to mention how special it is to be able to speak Spanish. It pays dividends in ways that still surprise me. .

Remembered

There’s a word, an obscure one, that describes people taking pictures that have been taken countless times. It’s because we all share a appreciation for certain things.

I took one this morning, early.

Before the throngs, before the day truly woke up.

The lamp post evoked a touch of Narnia. Early morning Monday, a time that normally excludes magic.

I had a cup of bitter coffee in my hand as I watched the trickle of people either meander without purpose or shuffle with reluctant efficiency.

As for me, I stood there as the sunrise creeped up on my left, over the top of history.

I tucked the memory of the view into a small corner of my mind. I’ll visit it again later, as life creeps back into my normalcy.

For now, the breeze is my companion.

Love, X
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Wedding Saturday

It was about 9:40. Though it was chilly, it was a beautiful sunny morning, just about a perfect one for early fall. I walked out of the store and into the midst of about 100 bikers. BB&B may have been canceled, but thousands of bikers made their way to NWA this weekend. I complimented one of the bikers on his choice of color. It’s the exact same color as my little car. Needless to say, someone who looks like him would be the last person I would expect to choose that color. A few feet away, a couple were talking to other bikers. Their friend Burt had not made it in yet. It turns out he is a licensed minister. I introduced myself, and told them they could go to the courthouse to get married. Then, I told them that I’m a licensed minister and would marry them right there on the spot if they wanted to. Or that we could go to the overlook, which is a beautiful spot, and do the wedding there. They were very tickled. I gave them my phone number on an index card and told them that they should feel free to call me today and I would gladly perform their marriage for them. I hope their friend Burt is okay. But I kind of also hope that he gets held up and that they call me. What a great memory that would be. Perfect weather, and a great day to make a memory, even if it starts with people who are initially strangers.

We’re all strangers, until we’re not.

It would be a sublime pleasure to be a part of people’s initial expression of love and togetherness. Optimism is infectious.

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I walked up and volunteered to be the picture taker for several groups. That way, their keepsake photos will include everyone. It’s such a treat to do that for people. One group of four insisted on taking my photo.

I heard a celebration down in the valley where I took the picture this morning. A beautiful wedding was in progress and I got to watch the end of it from about 30 feet up. The tears and applause when the groom kissed the bride even got to me a little bit. Hell, who am I kidding? I’ll admit that a tear rolled down my face. 2:00 p.m. on such a beautiful day seems appropriate enough to let a little emotion come out.

So even if the bikers from early this morning don’t call me, I got to live vicariously through another young couple just now. And then I watched them trudge up the long trail and hill. For two people, it was their first afternoon together, hopefully forever.

Love, X
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They Could Have Called Me “The Streak”

Jimmy isn’t the one in the long dress. He’s the one wearing a white jacket, wondering what he’d got himself into.

One of my regrets is that I didn’t streak naked around Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs during my cousin Jimmy’s first wedding. His first wedding was in August of 1995 to a woman named Lona Heckle. In 1995, I still had the body to allow me to run fast – and, if caught, not feel too badly about my picture being on the nightly news after my arrest for streaking. Camcorders were common but it was still possible to just be a blur on such cameras. Regular cameras were unwieldy and snapping flash pictures inside a giant glass rectangle tended to yield less-than-stellar photos.

Coincidentally, one of my other regrets is that I did not get to perform Jimmy’s other marriage shortly before his death. I overcame my inertia to become ordained due to the possibility of this marriage. I understand the particulars of why someone else was chosen but still remain a bit uneasy about it. Personally, I can’t understand why more families don’t have someone ordained so that the family member doing the ceremony will forever be part of the memory, too. After all, standing with the two people in love is the best seat in the house, so to speak.

Were Jimmy still alive, he’d join me in laughter if I told him, “Yes, I was going to perform your second marriage naked, Jimmy. No need to streak if I’m standing in front of everyone.”

He’s been dead for more than 7 1/2 years now, which itself seems alien to write.

I wrote much of this post a few days ago, before the other shoe fell and my brother died. I don’t recall why Mike wasn’t at Jimmy’s wedding. Fittingly enough, Jimmy and I didn’t make the trip up to the Chicago Metro area to attend my brother’s wedding. Our excuse wasn’t personal; we were both just young, poor, and unaware that we could reach out and find a way to get there.

My cousin was a bit crazy himself. He was prone to get whiskey courage and do some outrageous things. We inherited the tendency from our ancestors.

For whatever reason, Jimmy was very nervous about the wedding itself. All the family he’d ever known was attending. When I first started teasing Jimmy about potentially streaking during his wedding, he laughed and said, “You’ll never do it. You’ll say you will but you don’t have your dad’s crazy streak.” So I told him, “Exactly. NOT having it gives me the courage to do it precisely because no one will expect it.” As the days passed, I could tell I had got into his head.

For those unfamiliar with the Thorncrown Chapel, it’s made of glass and steel and sits in the middle of an expanse of trees and forest. I’ve witnessed people become overwhelmed by emotion while sitting inside. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being inside during heavy snow or while the sun is beaming through at an oblique angle, you undoubtedly can imagine it again.

Now add the idea of me running around the place naked with dozens of horrified onlookers trapped on the inside watching me do it.

I made the short video cut of Jimmy standing at the altar. It captures his unease at being the center of attention and spectacle. I took it from a VHS tape I had digitized several years ago. It was one of my few chances to be able to see videos and images from lives overlapping mine. Much of the bulk of such photography was lost to me due to the odd lack of sharing many of the family members seemed to inherit.

And because it’s one of the few relics of me on video, here’s a short one of me the day of Jimmy’s wedding. We were milling around outside the motel waiting for the hurry-and-wait part of the afternoon to commence.

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I wanted to post this picture of Jimmy and Lona a couple of years after they were married. I mean no disrespect but I always remember wrong how long they were married.

A Weekend Away From the World

 

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Dawn wanted to take pictures using her phone; her camera is significantly better than mine. She handed me the phone as she said, “Here, you can take them better.” She said that despite the years of insurmountable proof that the opposite was true. ” Thus, two of the best photos are obscured by my inexpert fingers. They are my favorites, of course.

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After painting a couple of rocks, something Dawn said that triggered a thought in my head, which is usually a dangerous sign. We were outside the cabin admiring the rocks that had surprisingly survived months (and even years) exposed to the elements. One of our previously ambitiously executed projects was somewhat intact but missing a couple of elements.

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Because I had exhausted the obscenely bright neon color as the base of the two large rocks, I had an inspiration. Because I had a surplus of gloves, I opted to collect 5 medium rocks and approximately 50 small rocks. I sprayed a huge glob of several colors on aluminum foil and used my hands to roll the rocks around in my hands and paint them that way. Luckily for me, my unreplenished grab bag of paints contained about three dozen bottles of varying paints. It was a bit of overkill. Once we painted the large number of rocks, it looked quite striking against the backdrop of the surrounding forest and subdued colors nearby.

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I made the png cutout version to better see the first two rocks we did. Not wanting to be outdone, I completed mine a nod toward my two favorite cousins, Beth and Lynette. I added a face on the bottom that was supposed to register surprise. I hope they don’t mind that I might exposed their secret identities again. Visitors to the cabins will drive up and see the two neon rocks and undoubtedly question what “X, Cheetah, Falcon, and Rojo” have to do with a getaway cabin. I challenge them to exceed my creativity and/or weirdness.

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I took one from over the top of our heads, in case anyone needed to see such a picture.

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When we arrived back to our normal lives here in Springdale, we went to see my in-laws. While the adults talked, I took the time to build a little town from what I could find in the yard. (Plus my invaluable index cards, of course.) You have to find your fun wherever it may be found.

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This picture is when Hell broke loose, pun intended. It was implied that I couldn’t leave my creation standing. For that reason, I had to pretend a tornado hit Hell and demolished it. I hope everyone is okay.

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Wisteria Lane Getaway For Labor Day

 

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This is the porch on Cabin #3. The porch and its swing is one of the best features that many other places surprisingly fail to include.

 

Last weekend, we had a chance to get away for the weekend to Wisteria Lane Lodging. At the last minute, we decided to extend the weekend by a day, if possible. The owner at Wisteria Lane gave us the green light. Instead of 2 nights and three days, we stayed for three nights. We stopped at the grocery store and loaded up on food for four days. The difference the extra day made was immeasurable. Vacationing in far-flung destinations has its appeal, I’ll admit, but knowing that we can drive less than forty-five minutes to be in the middle of nowhere with no one to intrude is difficult to surpass.

No cellphone, no internet, no outside world was imposing upon us. Unlike many of the competitor’s cabins, it’s possible to go and see no one during the entire stay. The cabins have satellite television; the solitude is best experienced without the world’s intrusion, in my opinion. I took a laptop loaded with shows and music, along with cables to use the flat screen television to project them.

Dawn and I don’t leave the valley unless we must. Many people who know me superficially are surprised that such isolation is enjoyable to me. Going without wifi and cellphones probably scares those who haven’t experienced it in the last few years. The disconnection is a welcome privilege. It’s a great way to measure your addiction to connectedness.

For those who love to walk or ride mountain bikes, the area is ideal. It’s possible to encounter no cars during your ride or hike on the maintained dirt rods.

While it only rained a bit during our stay, we sat on the hanging porch swing and listened to the thunder of the insects around us as the sun sank below the upper rim of the valley’s treeline.

Wisteria Lane is located North of Eureka and Holiday Island, in a deep valley populated with five billion trees. Cabin #3 & #4 are the best, in my opinion, given their location toward the inside of the forest. Each cabin has a long, covered porch facing the creek running through the valley. Each porch has a gas grill, which allows guests to cook in any weather, either using the grill or the full kitchen inside.

After our trip, I noticed that I hadn’t been billed for the extra night. The owner told me that she was treating Dawn and me to the extra night at no charge. A great trip made more exceptional due to the generosity of the owners.

 

 

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We usually take the time to paint rocks during our stays. We tend to go a little further than most guests.

 

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A Surprise Ending!

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Last week, we went to spend the after-holiday weekend north of Eureka and Holiday Island. Due to the throngs of tourists, the horse-drawn carriages were operating, despite the heat.

As we went up the scenic loop before leaving town to go to the cabin, we passed a carriage with 10 or 11 middle-aged women enjoying the ride. They were laughing and rocking the carriage with glee. They were dressed identically and were drawing onlooker’s gazes. The driver was keeping a close eye on them, as a couple of the ladies were holding poorly concealed drinks.

A block up the loop, a water main was leaking, and traffic was backed up. I turned around in a narrow driveway and headed back down.

As I took the next corner, my wife gasped in surprise. Ahead of us, we could see that the carriage had overturned, tossing the ladies out. Several were on the grass. The driver was standing next to the carriage, obviously crying a little and upset.

I pulled up next to him and put down my window.

“Hey, there’s no need to cry, sir!” I told him.

My wife looked at me with horror.

“Why not? This could have been fatal,” he said.

“Maybe. But everyone knows there’s no use crying over spilled milf.”

A Non-Birthday Celebration at The Cabin

 

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Under the pretense of an early birthday celebration for me, Dawn and I went and stayed a couple of nights at our favorite cabin: Wisteria Lane Lodging. Dawn insisted on that elusive ‘something’ for me, despite my general lack of enthusiasm. Without hesitation, I voted for a getaway weekend for us both to enjoy. As we always do, we stopped at the grocery store at Holiday Island and marched up and down the aisles several times. We’ve always found something interesting to try. Stores which exist near retirees tend to have a few things that are difficult to find elsewhere. I picked up a couple of extras, as I was certain that my unblemished cooking record would be irrevocably tarnished this time.

We arrived at the cabin, embued with a certainty that it was going to be a great weekend.

The creek below the cabin was still flowing with cold, clear water, but both days were warmer and dry. It started raining a little as we were packing up to leave. We prefer the rainy days while at the cabin, but our request for a deluge went unheeded.

Despite being forced to endure the sunlight, we somehow managed to enjoy ourselves anyway. 🙂

While we ate like royalty, we took the time to plan healthier choices. I grilled several times and despite my vegetarian proclivities, we had steak, chicken, steakburgers, corn on the cob and even grilled bell peppers. Just to expand my limited abilities, I brought a grill glove and basket, both of which were very useful. I still managed to burn a finger nicely, though, in a moment of inattention.  Given my general disregard for protocol, I’m always relieved that I once again avoided burning either the cabin or the forest around me. It’s hard to believe other adults once trusted me with charcoal. I still suspect gas grills were popularized in anticipation of some future mishap on my part.

The picture below reveals how long and wide the covered porch is. The swing is on the opposite end. The difference with Wisteria is that it’s easy to grill regardless of the weather.  The porch is the best feature of the cabin, one which is overlooked by most vacation cabins.

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On Sunday morning, as I was grilling, a thunderous clomping of feet came from the right. I thought an antelope had entered the planked walkway alongside the cabin. Before I could react, a large labrador poked her head around the corner, very hesitant and nervous. I’m not sure who the dog belongs to or how far it had traveled, but after a minute of cooing at her, I went inside and retrieved a couple of large grilled chicken breasts from the day before. As I fed her, the dog’s reluctance evaporated. Within minutes, I had a new best friend who wanted belly rubs. It was difficult to stop petting this adorable dog, especially as she looked at me eyes filled with appreciation.

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Dawn came outside to see what all the dancing and laughing was about.

We also finally got to watch “Three Billboards,” a copy I had ordered from Amazon to coincide with its release. We never watch movies on DVD. Despite the violence, we laughed several times. Even when the son jumped up with a butcher knife and casually placed it under his dad’s chin, I laughed in recognition of the casual truth of the way it unfolded. The story resonated with me as I sat in the middle of a place where no people were anywhere around. My memories provided the nonsensical backdrop. Since I was at one of my favorite places in the world, I will always remember seeing this movie.

It was a rare treat to enjoy the movie in the middle of nothing, without access to phones or internet. I also took my laptop and connected it to the large TV, to watch a couple of our favorite shows, along with my huge digital music collection. In combination with Dawn’s nice bluetooth speaker, we had an excessive amount of portable entertainment.  We tend to have a laugh at being in the middle of nowhere while maximizing our technology reach. It requires us to plan a little better, as there are fewer and fewer places without access to cellphones or internet. One day, we’ll look back in fascination at how quaint such a thing will seem to us.

Dawn had never tried a pickle-ice ice freeze pop. She wishes she had never tried one, now. The look of horrified amusement when she tried her first while we were at the cabin is now etched in my mind. Given her desire to spit in every direction upon tasting it, I’d rate her impression as “Unfavorable.” She also claims to have never tried pickle juice over crushed ice, a delight once available when we were younger. By the way, Dawn loves pickles, so I’m not sure how to attribute her distaste for ice pops. I’d like to point out that she loathes tomatoes, but two of her favorite foods are marinara and salsa. She also doesn’t suffer fools lightly – which doesn’t make sense, either, because all evidence points to her having married me voluntarily.

 

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At night, I played my13-hour thunderstorm-creek-waves sound file I made. Much of the component sounds are ones I’ve recorded on previous visits to Wisteria, standing in the overflowing creek or under the edge of the porch. It crashed and ebbed all through both nights. Though the skies were clear above us, if you had stood outside our cabin at midnight, you would have heard and felt the slight reverberation of the virtual thunderstorms inside.  Friday night, the moon shone through the gaps in the skylight like a beacon pointed down on us.

We also painted rocks again. I spent a little time cleaning them and applying a horrid bright green primer coat, possibly in an attempt to frighten any passing squirrels. We avidly grabbed our paints and started gossiping on the porch, in the sunlight, attempting to paint the rocks instead of our own fingers and faces.

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For mine, I decided to use the excuse of my birthday as a macabre prognostication of my departure date.  For those who despise Roman numerals: 1967-2037.

 

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I’m inevitably reluctant to leave the cabin. It’s a privilege to be able to enjoy it and I never fail to ask myself why I don’t adopt more elements of living simply.

We live in suburbs, aligned in symmetrical houses that seem to give our lives order.

For a couple of days, as Dawn and I lived a short while in the forest, our lives were in order.

 

Don’t Hate Me Because You Missed Out on Wisteria Lane – Again

Dawn and I used a portion of our vacation time to spend some time of quiet reflection at some of the best cabins in the 4-state region:  Wisteria Lane Lodging. The owners don’t compensate for me being so laudatory, although PepsiCo does pay me to not talk about their products. I love the cabins at Wisteria. For someone who enjoys the internet, it is quite relaxing to have no phone, no internet, and no mundane concerns while being surrounded by deep woods.

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The above picture doesn’t do the porch justice. The porch overlooks the bottom of the valley as a creek winds below. It spans the entire valley-side of the cabin and is wide enough to keep the weather at bay. With a porch swing, it’s almost perfect. Unlike other places, you can use the grill during any weather, except perhaps a tornado.

For reasons of national security, Dawn wouldn’t let me participate in the next picture, citing “overwhelming historical untrustworthiness” and something else she mumbled as she pointed the camera at herself and the taser at me as I attempted an approach to be immortalized in her picture.

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P.S. I didn’t get many pictures of Dawn, both due to her subtle “no” and “you had better not” hand motions, very similar to the one people might use to indicate an impromptu throat slitting. In addition, she displayed an allergy to what I would call “clothes.” It’s not like she cavorted or pranced around sans clothing, but she insisted on wearing the clothes that no one except spouses and emergency medical technicians get to see us wearing. (Also known as “comfy clothes” in some circles.)

We were staying at Cabin #4, which is the definition of privacy and seclusion. We could have practiced yodeling at all hours and no one would have noticed.

The picture below is an example of several I took, after Dawn’s insistent editing skills of redaction imposed themselves on my beautiful pictures. She says this picture captures her essence like none other I’ve ever taken of her.

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The next picture is of me, wearing an ensemble from the 2016 Versace Collection. It looks like I am sniffing paint, which is ridiculous. Everyone knows the only way to sniff paint is to use a paper bag. (Although I’ve been told I look stupid because I put my entire head inside the bag and then spray the can directly into my face.)

Because Dawn and I wanted to do something different with our visitor’s stones, I maximized our effort by using a primer coat on each of the stones. It’s much easier than it looks and made a huge difference in the result.

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Note to all sane people and children under 30 years of age: I was only kidding about sniffing paint. If you’d still like to see me with my head shoved into a paper bag, however, send me $20 and I’ll make your dream a reality.

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Dawn loved the fact that I finally got around to doing our visitor stones differently. Instead of just doing one, we did 6. The last one is one I made, to be the head of the long snake of rocks. It’s several feet long. I cleaned them and primed them the day we arrived. We went out on the long porch the next morning as the mist rose from below, scattered our paints and brushes, and laughed as we drank coffee, the cool air enveloping us. The head stone says “Time flies” in Spanish, with the year in Roman numerals.

The only potential downside is that future visitors might be envious of the scope of our stones for this visit. If they attempt to surpass my effort though, they should be warned: I will return and do 100 the next time. Just kidding – I’d probably stop at 30 or 40.

Dawn snapped this next one of me as I prepared to work my magic in the culinary portion of the evening. She claims that I’m prone to “weird hands” in these poses, although she uses a more endearing moniker for the pose.

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Not to brag or anything, but Dawn was happy with all the meals I made, even when I made things that started with the warning, “I’m not sure if this will be edible or thrown at miscreants on the sidewalk.” We didn’t take any pictures of our prepared food, out of respect for the privacy of the food that perished for our survival. Dawn took pictures of the fridge, as she couldn’t believe the variety of food we bought.

We resembled religious fanatics at the SunFest grocery store on Holiday Island, preparing our larders for the end of the world. We were like Noah-Of-The-Grocery as we stuffed two of everything in inventory into our cart. I felt like a pack mule pushing around our spoils as we headed to the register.

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Saturday morning, I got out early and marched the roads around Wisteria Lane. Even the downhill portions of the road were, in fact, uphill. I know this sounds impossible, but when you get to be my age, the impossible supplants both the unlikely and improbable when it’s least convenient. I saw some interesting things and had some great thoughts running around in the middle of the wild. As the roads were dry and dusty, I also had the grace of good luck, as I met no one on the roads during my entire trek.

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The above picture is to prove that all roads were paradoxically uphill. The sunlight comes a little later to the deep valleys where the cabins at Wisteria Lane are situated. It was worth the hiking to see it from a few different angles.

As for the next picture, I apologize for the weird HDR-esque quality. I tried using the filters on my phone until a prompt popped up and asked, “Are you high?” It was actually much darker than is evidenced by this picture. I loved the accidental result so much that I couldn’t bring myself to edit it out. In the distance, someone is clearing an immense amount of brush and trees. It was so tempting to venture out through there and stand in the middle of it. It would have been easy to imagine I had traveled back in time had I done so. Except I couldn’t be certain that sound of shotguns wouldn’t chase me back out.

People in those parts don’t subscribe to “Tomfoolery Quarterly, so it seemed safer to admire the torn earth from a distance.

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For fun, one of the projects I finally completed was making the “Blair Witch” stick symbols and hanging them from the canopy of trees. I bought some twine in Eureka Springs. While at the cabin, I meandered around the basin amidst the invisible snakes and collected a nice pile of hearty tree falls and snapped off relatively straight portions of their limbs. I then used the twine to tie the sticks together in the infamous “stick man” pattern. Dawn was very much interested in how my project might turn out, but she, of course, wanted nothing to with the process, preferring to remain high above on the cabin-length covered porch of our cabin. Even I eagerly found new discoveries in the trees, Dawn only offered commentary, leaving all the progress to me.

Not that anyone who knows me is going to worry about my views about witchcraft, voodoo, or omens, but in case you do, don’t worry about it. Not only because all such beliefs are both stupid and entertaining, but because my efforts were geared toward a good laugh. The idea of making several of these and placing them around someone’s house was amusing to me, especially if they are prone to being supersticious.

When I finished, I placed them up in the trees, like so…

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I imagine that it would have been hilarious had I fallen and snapped my neck. Imagine the obituary and the endless possibilities of creativity for any headline writer tasked with summing up the cause of my stupidity and demise.

I left the stick figures hanging in the trees. I hope that whoever cleans the cabins doesn’t have a minor nervous breakdown from all of them – or that the next visitor to these great cabins doesn’t notice them until their first morning at the cabins. Mayhem might indeed ensue under either of those scenarios.

I apologize in advance if anyone falls off the porch or gets scared by my bucket list project with the sticks. I’ve been meaning to do this for the last dozen visits, even as I constantly joked about all the vampires roaming the woods near Wisteria Lane.

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Above, I stopped and took a selfie as I cleared the apex of the largest hill. Again, it’s darker than it looks.

Even as I type these words, I miss it already. Some places seem to exist exuberantly outside of time and Wisteria Lane is just such a place. For being so close to home, it is an appreciated privilege for there to be such a place available to me.

Dawn didn’t drown me in the hot tub, push me over the edge of the porch, or hand me the exposed wires of a toaster during this peaceful weekend. I guess I did okay. She’ll let me know, I presume.

If I awaken tomorrow to find a Blair Witch stick figure on my front doorstep, I’ll assume it is the owner of Wisteria Lane starting her own haunting, to repay my capriciousness.