Out & About – Beauty in Nature

TT_bannerThis month in Tuesday Tales I’m taking a break from romance since it’s NANO time (National Novel Writing Month). Victoria and Toby, in Starting Over, will have to figure out their own way for a few weeks, without me handing them their script. We’ll be back to them when November ends.

My NANO work is a nonfiction, inspirational, tentatively titled: A BETTER LIFE: A TO Z. Today I’m sharing the ‘O’ excerpt – OUT AND ABOUT: BEAUTY IN NATURE.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt. They snippets are short, only 300 words! Enjoy, then head back to TUESDAY TALES here, for more tales from a creative group of writers.

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OUT AND ABOUT: BEAUTY IN NATURE

TT_December picture promptThe best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.

— Anne Frank

Nature. Peace. Serenity. Health benefits. They are all linked.

Research is proving what many people have intuitively believed for years. Being outside and finding beauty in nature is good for our souls, our health and our mental well-being. Nature is good for us. Savoring the beauty of nature provides both long and short term mental and physical health benefits.

Are you feeling out of sorts? Stressed? On the edge and ready to snap? Go outside! Environmental Science and Technology (2010) reported that ‘just 5 minutes of activity in natural areas resulted in improvements in self-esteem and mood.’

You many reply, ‘But I live or work in the city. I don’t have the luxury to drive away or visit a nature preserve.’ You don’t need the country to find solace. Nature is more than wilderness, mountains, prairies and plains. Small community parks and green spaces in urban environments provide the same benefits. Instead of streams and lakes, look for urban spaces with fountains that give the sounds of peaceful, running water.

Give it a try. I challenge you. Five minutes a day. Or longer if you can. After all, if Anne Frank wrote that she felt being amidst the simple beauty of nature was the best remedy, how can we argue? Her troubles make my life look like a fairy tale.

I’ll meet you outdoors!

Family and nature and War Eagle Mill

Family … easily the best part of vacation! My sister, Sue, and niece, Michelle, flew from southern California to DFW and we were off on our ‘girls road trip’. Next stop … dad’s house in Arkansas. (Well, next stop AFTER a totally necessary stop at The Amish Store in Atoka, Oklahoma.)

Visiting with family for several days was fabulous. We laughed. We cried. And talked, and talked, and talked.

And, of course, we went sight-seeing. (read as, LOTS of delapidated barn pictures!) We hiked at Devil’s Den National Park. We visited dad’s 3.2 acre retreat and hiked (and communed with nature) there. We admired the creative, wonderful art at my favorite spot on earth – Terra Studios.

But my sister’s favorite spot … WAR EAGLE MILL. Naturally we had to visit there too. War Eagle Mill, in Rogers Arkansas, has actually been built several times.

In 1832, Sylvanus Blackburn homesteaded 160 acres along the War Eagle River in northwest Arkansas. The following spring, he returned to Hickman County, Tenessee, to bring his young bride, Catherine, back to his acreage. Soon their two story log home was complete and they began their family, raising 5 boys and 3 girls.

By 1838, a grist mill, blacksmith shop, carpentry shop and saw mill had been built. In 1848 a flood washed away the mill and the dam. Sylvanus rebuilt the mill. It was burned two days before the battle of Pea Ridge (March 6-8, 1862), to keep the mill from falling into Yankee hands.  Sylvanus’ son, James, rebuilt the mill in 1873. The mill operated for many years and in 1924, burnt a second time. Many years passed. In 1973, Jewell and Leta Medlin, and their daughter Zoe Leta Caywood, rebuilt the fourth War Eagle Mill. The grist mill remains in operation today and is also the site of two HUGE annual craft shows in spring and fall.

The mill has two floors full of tempting goodies, treats and artistic creations. The top floor contains a homey eatery. My niece and I had a tasty breakfast. With her breakfast, Michelle had the biscuits and country gravy. I was excited to have biscuits and apple butter. My dad and sister, well, they fell for the temptation of the blackberry cobbler.

If you’re heading through the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas, make sure to plan for an hour or two at War Eagle Mill.

www.wareaglemill.com

September 2021
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