There is a stretch of land in Southwest Arkansas so inexplicably magical and full of splendor and yet remote and undisturbed by the general public that it has become a secret retreat of sorts.
After a particularly rough day I sometimes hop in the Rav-4, and head south until I find myself sufficiently loosed of all signs of modern civilization. The road is a blacktop just past the river bridge, an old pecan orchard rises out of the soggy delta fields to bow reassuringly to the wind or my arrival. If trees could be friends, these would be the kind you keep a lifetime and always return to when you feel lost. Just past the last cluster of leafy towers, the road becomes clay red and bumpy. The concrete turns to gravel and plumes of red dust linger in the sticky southern air long after my little compact SUV is gone.
I discovered this sanctuary when I was sixteen and out for a practice drive. I only meant to find somewhere to improve my vehicular skills, but I found slightly more- an eternally vibrant mecca for nature-lovers like myself- more.
Five years post, and it is still awash in the glory if undisrupted pastoral rhythm. Birds chirp and butterflies, well flutter. It’s idyllic. The sturdy, waist high grass ungulates and glistens like an ocean bay. Honey Suckle and Jazmin and freshly turned earth, just a few plots away, bounce from breeze to breeze, filling the air with the unmistakable aroma of southern summer churning under a late and still forgiving (Just wait till July) sun.
This is farm land, and as farming goes, so does life. There are acres of purposefully controlled growth, fields of brown wet dirt waiting to be seeded, and the wild grassy stretches so full and unrefined, unconfined life and teaming with bugs and birds and noise and silence. Everything is awash in golden and green as the sun makes it’s reluctant farewell into the distant tree line.
It’s hard to imagine a battle in such a graceful setting, but that is exactly what I am here for. I have no flag to wave or union to champion, just a heart that has been worn and weathered by the carelessness and naivety of youth, or love, or whatever. I find my self wondering if when my bruises fade, which they inevitably do, will I be able to love with the same fervor I embued to my most recent lover? I hope so. Heart break is a funny thing (actually have laughed a little) isn’t it? When in the absurd limbo between love and emotional liberty, one discovers more about themselves than when all is neatly stitched up. A break-up makes an existentialist out of almost everyone (at least in western culture). Not only do I begin to question the cause of death (of the relationship) but an autopsy of everything leading up to the relationship, subsequent demise, and post-split grief process, is preformed with inquisitional zeal. Why is it when part of our world is in repair, we begin to check the maintenance log for the whole life we live?
Why is losing a love, sometimes the only thing that can keep us from losing ourselves?
Are we really who or what we love? Or are we more influenced by who or what we lose?