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 coping 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: faith, family, dog training, Route 66, gardening, cooking, photography, energy conservation, folk music, and assorted other interests.
Fourteen years later, I live half a mile from Route 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico, and teach high school in a tiny ranching community 47 miles away. My day job, side hustles, and volunteer commitments keep me too busy to blog as often as I did back in 2005, but I still pop in on occasion.