All photos taken with David’s Nikon D850 and my 50mm f/1.4 lens.
Wednesday night, David and I drove up to Bentonville to a popular pub for a thank you celebration put on by Gravitas Racing, a local enduro racing team, for everyone responsible for the amazing mountain biking that's available in northwest Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas has become a destination for mountain bikers from all over the country; in fact, Dave and I rode some trails this morning, and as we pulled into the last trailhead, we met a father and three sons from Texas that had driven up to ride some of the trails for the weekend.
And I made it down in one piece today without any falling over or cuts and bruises! I'm making progress (but it's still as scary as hell)!
Wednesday evening was filled with meeting new people and making new friends, babies and dogs, happy barkeepers and icy cold beer. There was music and food trucks and quite a crowd. Awards were given out later in the evening to those groups that created the mountain bike community here in our little corner of Arkansas. It was fun mingling with all the different people and just having a nice relaxing evening with David. It isn't often that we go out on a "school night", but it sure was a lot of fun being a grown up!
Yesterday, I attended my first ever Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade held in downtown Fayetteville. I was part of over 12,000 people from all over the area joining together to celebrate life and love and people. It was beastly hot, but the colors, the sense of community, the support, the friendship, the hugs, the spending time with Meghan, her boyfriend and my best friend and her family, the joining together for a cause . . . . all that and more made up for the 90+ temperatures. I was hunkered down on a street corner taking pictures, the whole time grinning from ear to ear, sometimes choking back the lump in my throat that I usually get during such inspiring events. You could practically reach out and touch the joy that was in the air. Just so much joy and laughter and love.
After living in the bustling Washington, DC Metro area for most of my adult life, the relaxed atmosphere of a small(-ish) town such as Fayetteville really makes me feel as though I'm a part of the community, not just another commuter/shopper/fill-in-the-blank that I felt in DC. It's the Farmer's Market and the street festivals and and events that are held on a weekly and monthly basis here in this little area nestled in the quiet Ozark Mountains that make me feel like I count. I run into neighbors and friends whenever I go to the grocery store. I can run along the trails and get friendly hellos and waves from other runners and walkers that I pass. I can strike up conversations with strangers while waiting in line at the bank or the DMV. This feeling of acceptance and friendship is so welcomed after living in northern Virginia where you never really quite got to know anyone.
And yesterday along Dickson Street in the heart of Fayetteville that feeling was never more represented than in the colorful parade that marched down the center of the avenue. What an amazing day!
To see more of yesterday's parade, just click on the link here.
I'm not what you'd call a very active activist. Not to get all political on you or anything, but I do believe that women should get equal pay for equal work, that we need better health care for everyone and Congress needs a good slap up the head, among other things. I admire those women and men that stand up for everyone else, that demand to be heard and and are fighting to make this wold a better place. I'm more of a closet activist, I suppose, cheering on those brave people from the sidelines.
Today I attended my first rally and march for equality, justice and inclusion when I decided to attend the Women's March of Fayetteville, commemorating 2017's Women's March that was held nationally and internationally. I hadn't really planned on going, but I found myself texting my close friend to see if she was going, and well, we met each other at the public library at 11:30 this morning, and spent the next two hours listening to various speakers, chatting with other women and pointing out some of our favorite signs, and of course marching from the town square down to the public library. The weather was beautiful and warm, the speakers were impassioned, the crowd on point with cheers and boos.
It was an amazing day and an amazing event.
Maybe now I'll be more of an active activist. I took the first step today and that's all that it takes.
And it really was a Party, with a capital "P"!
Every year about this time, Fayetteville merchants along Block Street have a massive party and all the town is invited to come out and play. There are vendors set up under tents selling their goods, pony rides for the children, beer gardens for the adults and concert stages set up in nearly every vacant parking lot. Block Street itself isn't that long, maybe three or four blocks, but thousands of people from all over northwest Arkansas packed themselves in between the tents and had a ball. This was the first time David and I attended and we got to see some old friends, believe it or not, amongst that mass of human beings. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold, but juuuust right. Children were everywhere, as were dogs, people were laughing, music was playing, the smell of BBQ was filling the air and everybody was in a happy mood. It was just a perfect day for a party.
I made a trip out to Terra Studios last Monday to look at their pottery and to stroll the grounds. Every time I visit the artist colony and walk through the art garden and labyrinth, I always catch myself wishing that we had had something like this place when the kids were little and growing up in northern Virginia. It would have made David's long overseas trips easier on the kids if I'd gotten to take them to a place like this. Joe would've loved all the dragons and Meghan would've gone for the little people that were scattered about in the woods.
It was a beautiful day with only a few left over clouds from the past weekend's rains. There was just one other family visiting the studios, so I had the place more or less all to myself. I really like taking these little trips and adventures by myself; it's like a mini vacation in the middle of the year. It gives me time to re-group and get myself organized a bit better. It was quiet and relaxing and I may have caught myself imagining the gnomes and little people coming alive and playing amongst the greenery as I wandered along the pathway. It was a peaceful way to begin the week.