All Day in Arkansas
My morning routine is a bit unusual. I blame St Patrick and Cheng Man Ching. Over the years in Ireland I became more and more interested in Celtic Christianity; an earthy, reflective, very personal form of prayer. One of my favorite Celtic prayers is a circling prayer where you recite the words while turning in a circle, your right hand overhead drawing a circle of protection around you. Weird, yes, but I like it.
After I do my “prayer” then I have to do my Tai Chi. I have to do that outdoors. It’s probably unusual seeing a guy dressed in biker gear doing Tai Chi. For some reason Jeff seems to distance himself from me in the morning. However, one good omen to start the day with was clearly posted in the motel’s breakfast room. It stated, and I kid you not: “May all beings be filled with kindness and compassion for one another.” Amen.
But that was hours ago. Right now it’s 8 pm and I’m sitting on the bed at tonight’s motel in Springdale Arkansas, watching the TV show Cheaters and sipping a Corona Familiar Beer. La cerveza mas fina. Esta bien. Muy bien. I promised that I would not say anything bad about Jeff’s choice of motels and I won’t. We arrived a bit earlier than the motel management was expecting. They were just finishing taking down the yellow crime scene do not enter tape from our room. They were cleaning the room, just vacuuming up the body shaped chalk line from the carpet. But things have been great.
If Arkansas is looking for a new state motto I would suggest: “road work ahead”. The first sign of problems was after we left our motel and hit the Interstate. A flashing sign announced: Road Work: Next 62 Miles. They weren’t kidding.
But the sky was Carolina blue, scudded with oyster colored clouds, the green fields were filled with yellow buttercups and I settled into a nice meditative awareness. I had been following Jeff as we passed trucks (lorries) hugging the left lane. I was in such a meditative frame of mind that I lost sight of him as he cut right. When I spotted him way off to the right I had two choices: Either take the next exit and circle back or cut across two lanes of traffic and follow him. No way but then suddenly it looked possible so I opened up the throttle, darted right and made it.
Later Jeff and I ditched the interstate and instead took up Highway 71 which begins at the edge of the Arkansas River Valley and runs 42 miles across the Ozark Mountains to Fayetteville. This road was amazing. Lots of twists and curves through the lush mountain countryside. The road snakes along a beautiful green-blue river and there are roadside farms, artists shops, antique shops and interesting designed homes clinging to the mountainside. We decided not to head towards Devil’s Den, based on karma considerations alone. Apparently an old stage coach line used to run through the area. This was also a big hunting area. We stopped at a gas station which had all sorts of devices and scents for hunters for attracting deer. Unfortunately they had nothing for repelling deer.
Springdale is a special place. It’s where my buddy Jeff grew up. Right now he’s out visiting with his two aunts who are 91 years old. Bless his heart. And theirs.