Nineteen 7th graders, three mothers and a teacher board the snub-nosed Blue Bird school bus early Tuesday for a two-hour trip to Honors Contest, the highest level of choir competition in south Arkansas.
At the edge of town, we turn south onto Highway 35, a winding state road to Sheridan.
around a curve...the petrified store...its green foliage backgroundClose to the fences, bushy pines--like caged animals begging--stretch branches to passersby. Further back, shrouded crowds of slender trunks reach for sun’s sustenance, green only at the tops. Dogwoods spatter shadowy trunks with winter white; holly bushes brighten the somberness.
curves through timberland
many shades of green
Neat homes with barns and gardens break up the miles of trees. In one yard, wood is already cut to fireplace lengths—a stack of parquetry curing for next winter.
wisteria still...sleeping in weathered frame...redbud shattersAt Sheridan, we turn east. The browns and grays of oak, elm and gum are flecked with chartreuse tints of hackberry, the fuschia of redbud, pink of peach, apricot of early maples. Orange-red sawbriars cling to lower branches, as if jealous of the new growth.
fractured deer stand
standing over the burned field
new ochre buds
We pass a Christmas-tree farm. Farther on, a pine—trimmed from the high-wire right-of-way—stands--an ancient bonsai giant. Furrows of freshly plowed garden spots stand ankle deep in rainwater.
school bus carcass
behind the feed shed
A two-story house rises from the woods, the cleared brush used as fencing. An old Cotton Belt train car now hawks used trucks.
This side of Pine Bluff, a large white sign reads: PENITENTIARY AREA/ BEWARE OF HITCHHIKERS
of driver's C-W station
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