Well organized versus wild and wooly

cypress in creek

A growth of wild cypress on the east side of a stream crossing U.S. Highway 167 north of Hampton, Arkansas in late March, 2011. The glow of a setting sun bathes the scene in amber.

On the wild side, this creek full of roadside cypress growth  in south Arkansas, probably ignored by passengers and drivers in hundreds of vehicles passing daily, is a cacophony of color, shapes, angles, shadows, and shades. It is a macro universe supporting a cypress nursery, fish, turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs, and other cold-blooded critters who are probably looked upon as supper for the warm-blooded carnivores who are without a doubt members of the neighborhood as well.

On top of all that, it looks pretty cool and nary a soul has lifted his or her hands to manicure it or prepare it for public view. It just happened. And other than the price of gas (no small thing mind you), it is free for all to see.

Half Moon Bridge, Garvan Woodland Gardens

See Garvan Gardens at Corndancer dot-com

Compare our wild and wooly cypress to the well organized grounds of Garvan Woodland Gardens, near Hot Springs AR. Garvan Gardens is a world-class botanical garden bequeathed to the University of Arkansas School of Landscape Architecture by the late philanthropist Verna Cook Garvan. As opposed to the cypress growth, thousands gladly pay the modest entry fees to stroll through and observe the wonders of nature civilized by well manicured trails and bridges in Garvan Gardens.

With its unique woodland chapel and pavilion, Garvan Gardens is the site of dozens of weddings every year. You can see much more of Garvan Gardens on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started. Click on the link and take a look. We’ll wait here.

View from the Half Moon bridge at Garvan Gardens

The view from Half Moon bridge at Garvan Gardens in its brilliant early spring mode. A set of steps allows garden visitors acess to get up close and personal with the small stream running through the chasm. Up to and including getting your feet wet.

Some would say there’s no comparison between the well organized and tended Garvan Gardens and our wild and woolly cypress growth. I beg to disagree. The same Higher Power created locations. Both are prime examples of their local environments. In their own way, both are eye candy. One may be a tad threatening to human visitors and one has the welcome mat out. Until the Garvan Gardens landscape was tamed, it probably had its share of natural threats as well.

Full Moon bridge at Garvan Woodland Gardens

Full Moon bridge at Garvan Woodlands Garden goes over a small stream which empties into a Koi pond. The bridge is part of the well planned system of trails in Garvan Gardens.

My observation is that while one location is a touchy-feely and the other is an “I’d just as soon not,” both have value. Both have their place. And we can enjoy both for what they are. So in the final analysis, in my humble opinion, as to the “well organized versus wild and woolly” conundrum, there are no winners and no losers. Just two venues doing what they do best.


Tulips at Garvan Garden entrance

See more pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery

See more Garvan Gardens and cypress pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery. You’ll see the Garvan Gardens entrance and its guardian tulips.

And you can peruse and ruminate upon the images of more of the bridges and some other cool stuff.  There are 13 pictures waiting on you.

Still lo-cal, high in natural content and very addicting. Fully guaranteed and warranted to entertain even the most calloused of souls. Click here.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind



Family at the falls

This is a continuation from the Corndancer.com photo of the week picture-story. If you arrived here without first going to the photo of the week and want to catch up, (a cool thing to do), click here.

As I was engrossed in shooting a series of bracketed photographs of the falls at Lake Catherine State Park, I heard somewhat of a clamor down the trail leading to the falls. Mostly laughter and the sounds of people having fun. Turns out it was a couple of families and some friends. As they came closer and I overheard their conversations, it became plain that their conversations were not being conducted in south Arkansas English, which pretty well left me out of the loop.

The family, enjoying the environment, approached the falls and sure enough, out comes the ubiquitous digital camera. I offered to shoot them in front of the falls. One of the family members switched to English and handed me the camera. The group went as close to the falls as they could get and remain dry. I shot a few exposures and a straggler or two came up and we started the process again.

Two families and friends enjoy the falls at Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs AR.

Two families and friends enjoy the falls at Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs AR.

I asked them to stay put after I shot with their camera so I could shoot with mine. There is some blurring in the shot, one wiggling baby and one arm twitch.  I had the camera set up to shoot the waterfall at 1/5 second, not the best speed for human beings.

I asked them if they lived in Arkansas. They told me they were from Dallas. I thanked them for coming to Arkansas and encouraged them to do it often and spend as much money as was possible while in the state. They laughed and so did I. I gave them the corndancer.com address and told them to check the photo of the week and this blog. That was my contribution to international goodwill for the week.

The families explore the top of the falls. One adult introducing the baby to the chilly waters of a mountain stream. He seemed to enjoy the experience

The families explore the top of the falls. One adult is introducing the baby to the chilly waters of a mountain stream. He seemed to enjoy the experience.

It occured to me just how small our world has become. Though currently from Texas, it was patently obvious that the Lone Star state was not where they were born and reared. Yet here were some folks from thousands of miles away and this ol’ boy from south Arkansas − and we had something in common other than the same numbers of eyes and limbs. We all wanted to see a waterfall that Sunday afternoon. Would that other complexities could be that simple.

All content. pictures and verbiage ©2008 Joe Dempsey

%d bloggers like this: