I went into Red Fork because I wanted to live deep and suck the marrow out of life….
(NOTE: If you came here in search of the song “Orion” from your sixth-grade music textbook, please click here to find it.)
Several years ago, while living in Southern Illinois, I fell in love with a little publication called The Waterman and Hill-Traveler’s Companion. It was published by Jim Jung, who owned the late, great Hillside Nursery in Carbondale, and was a terrific little almanac that included day-by-day listings of natural events. It was worth the price of the almanac (about $6) just to find out when the chorus frogs were going to start singing in Makanda.
When my husband and I moved to Red Fork — a blue-collar neighborhood in west Tulsa that lies roughly between Route 66 and Lookout Mountain — in the summer of 2004, I tried desperately to find a similar publication covering northeastern Oklahoma.
I came up empty, but I finally hit upon a plan: I would simply keep my own records about what was going on every day in my neck of the woods so that maybe, in a few years, I could make an educated guess about when the scissortails would return to their perch on my chimney and the tree frogs would return to my pond.
This was also a cope mechanism. I started this blog in late December 2005. I didn’t really like winter (and still don’t, although I’ve found that a kettle of posole simmering on top of a woodstove helps tremendously), but I found it much more bearable when I could open WHTC and think about what sort of life was stirring a few miles away in the Shawnee National Forest on a bleak, icy day — so I thought maybe if I took five minutes a day to probe my back yard for signs of life, the cold wouldn’t seem so bad.
Over time, my focus expanded to include my other great loves: my faith, my family, my animals, Route 66, distance running, gardening, cooking, photography, solar power, energy conservation, folk music, and assorted other interests.
In April 2013, I left Red Fork to take a position at a newspaper in Southeast Missouri, about 60 miles from my hometown. I realize my handle and blog name no longer make any sense in light of that, but I can’t change the handle, and I haven’t thought up a better title, so they’ll remain for the time being.
I still try to record natural events as I notice them, but you’ll generally find them wedged in between Judy Collins videos, photos of New Mexico sunsets, anecdotes about my dogs’ latest mischief, and observations about metaphysics.
It’s an eclectic mix … but in the end, aren’t we all?