While at Grandma’s in Arkansas I took a road ride from her house up in the Ozark Hills. She lives in Bella Vista, a town with a rural feel set in the hickory and oak highlands above Sugar Creek. The day before her birthday Grandma made us sloppy joe sandwiches for lunch. When early afternoon rolled around and people took a siesta or read to relax and rejuvenate, I took a bike ride. This sweet land could not look any better than it does from the saddle of a bicycle.
Horses in pastures watched me spool by. I greeted them and talked to them. The country roads circle the hills and dive down into the hollows, flowing with the contours of the land.
My bike rides usually start out with a question. Sometimes it is how am I feeling today? I find out more about this when I pedal a bicycle. Other times it is what can I discover today? This sets the stage for adventure, no matter how small it is. Daily adventures keep us enlivened.
Though I liked the rides I took on the multiuse trails of Oklahoma City and Fayetteville during this trip, my favorite ride was this one on these country roads of NW Arkansas. I love being in the working landscape and seeing the way human activity fits together with the fabric of the countryside. The horses, the farms, the active living born from the habits of daily routine. I am grateful my grandparents decided to retire here from North Dakota. Over the last 30 years, they have introduced several generations of their family to the beauties of Northwest Arkansas.
I admire the dramatic landscapes of the West, the oceanic high altitude skies, incredible mountains and vast open spaces. But this trip to Arkansas cured me of any doubt. This whole country is absolutely gorgeous. The variety and diversity tucked into this small corner of Arkansas is enormous. Travel experiences release us from convention, including our own tendencies to think that love is exclusive and small. Love is expansive and love conquers all.