East Camden, Arkansas 1974

the woods were on fire that night…deep into the dark flames from trees shot to the sky…with sirens sounding and lights flashing while a community watched….abandoning their slumber….

family men…husbands…fathers…fought for the safety of all while moms kept kids by their sides…looking-on at a blaze burning Pines and Dogwoods and Oaks and Hickory…a childhood memory burned to ash…

a magical place where cowboys and Indians chased one another down paths and into cool waters on hot Arkansas summer days…..

stratagies on walkee-talkees by American soldiers fighting an imaginary war while correspondents on TV told of real horror…

dirt bikes criss crossing and jumping over brush and old tires and teens..and anything found in abandonment…one man’s trash…

those trees burned until sun-up…til coffee was poured from thermoses….doughnuts passed around….and talk of next week’s Lions Club chicken barbecue…how many pounds of potatoes need peeled…mustard or mayonaise…

little by little lives move-on….transitions are made…kids grow-up…families disolve…communities come together less and less….

and wood burns….playtime is done away with…everything is temporary…

maybe that forest will grow again…perhaps dreams can go without arrest….

who knows….we cling to the past…images never leave us…and we have that to be thankful for…

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