Back when Xy & I lived in Bloomington, we knew a guy named Ray, a long-haired acid burnout/schizophrenic with a penchant for bizarre puns. Once he told us he was going on a trip to New Orleans via the “Oz Arks.” I believe he got arrested for drug possession somewhere along the way.
His nomenclature has stuck with me even after all these years: Oz Arks, bringing to mind vast vessels bound for imaginary lands.
Now we are reversing Ray’s itinerary, without getting arrested I hope. And in like manner, I’ve come to this area hoping to get away from the imaginary dreamworld of civilization and city living, and revisit a higher reality — that is to say, the natural world.
We’re coming to the end of our stay here at Silverleaf’s Ozark Mountain Resort, which is located between Kimberling City and Lampe, Missouri, in the Mark Twain National Forest. Branson is just 20 minutes away, but we haven’t set foot there once.
Instead, we canoed the St. James River. We went to Roaring River State Park and hiked the Devil’s Kitchen Trail. Highly recommended. In both cases, it seemed we were the only people there, perhaps the only people in the world.
I’ve learned a bit about chert forests and the bluff-dwelling Indians who lived here some 10,000 years ago. Fascinating stuff.
It’s not all about nature of course. We’ve also hit a lot of thrift stores. We’ve been swimming a lot. We’ve made love constantly. It’s been a good trip so far, and it’s not even half over.
And we’ve talked about a great many things, like what we want to do with the rest of our lives, plans for future travel, and maybe — just maybe — having a child some day.