Something Old, Something New
A country church can show some serious resilience. Multiply that when a cemetery is attached. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the old church in this case is the tarpaper-covered structure in the foreground, while the white structure in the background is the new church. The cemetery is well-tended and still used. I spied a fiberglass mausoleum, which was a “dead giveaway.”
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Pine Buff, Arkansas
Much subject matter for these stories is generated from my heading in a general direction with few expectations as to what I will see and/or stumble across. This weekend I left on one of those trips. My only expectations were long stretches of gravel roads and two or three discoveries with any kind of luck. There was one expectation and it failed to come to fruition.
I headed into the Ouachita National Forest and the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains north by northwest of Hot Springs, Arkansas, where there are genuine certifiable boondocks. I entered the boondocks officially slightly north of Black Springs and emerged just north Big Fork. On the way I made two discoveries, the first of which is the church and cemetery at the top the page. The second is just below.
This bridge lies just northeast of Big Fork, Arkansas, over Big Fork Creek on County Road 675 where I emerged from the boondocks. The tops of the trusses by my best estimate are in the neighborhood of eight feet in height from the floor of the bridge. I used my standardized height of 6’ 3” to make that judgement. One does not see a bridge configuration like that often. This one is my first — and I’ve seen plenty of bridges.
Here’s the bridge, looking right down the bore.
Docile in the Upper Reaches
Not far from Big Fork is this public access point to the Ouachita River. It looks small and docile here. The river's lower reaches in southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana support barge traffic. Here it’s a great family swimming hole.
Earlier in the day, I took a wild notion on a side road and found a country place where the landowner decided to decorate his “bobwahr” fence with prickly-pear cacti and an old disc harrow.
It Said... and I Didn't.
Not too far east from where Arkansas Highway 28 leaves in an easterly direction from US Highway 71, I encountered this nice red barn. It had the standard “No Trespassing” signs, and since the owner lived right across the highway and was at home, I decided to break with tradition and obey the sign.
An Unexpected Absence
In our introductory remarks for this epistle, we spoke of the unexpected. I did not expect to see this scene. The next picture is what I expected.
Back When It Stood
I first photographed the old house in 2009 and again in 2011. From what I could tell, I suspected that it would last longer before Mother Nature won. So much for my second career as an estimator for how long deteriorating houses will last. In any case, this is a sad goodbye to an old friend.
Staying Cool in the Golden Hour
As I pulled away from the old house, the golden hour was becoming evident. In the next encounter, these cows in the pond were bathed in the gold of late afternoon sun. The temperature was hovering in the high nineties to probably 100 or more. The cows have the right idea. Except for one.
The Scars Add to the Coolness.
Down the road in Bluffton, there are several nicely preserved old structures, including this old barn. It has a few battle scars, but they add to the coolness.
Wander Back and Imagine.
Not far from the barn, you’ll find this old store in a strategic retail corner. Unfortunately the value of the strategy did not stand the test of time, but we still like to take a look at the store and let our minds wander back in time to imagine it as a hub of activity.
There you have it. You get the unexpected. The expected? Forget about it. Sound familiar?
Thanks for looking.
See more from this trip,
including more looks
at the no-longer-standing house,
and old library, and more at
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind. Click, go, and enjoy.