Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mud Street, Spring Street, Blue Spring

More journal notes written during my stay at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, October 2006: I caught a trolley and headed downtown to get the lay of the land. Found the coolest place in town as if by magnetism -- The Mud Street Café. A downstairs, hippie, French-feeling cafe'with an art gallery, perfect poetry venue with Coltrane in the background and the best chicken waldorf salad I couldn’t imagine creating myself. Lounged on a corner couch and enjoyed the music, art and art magazines. It would make a perfect live poetry venue. It's what the Guild Complex and Lower Links in Chicago always wanted to be, but never quite could muster. Unfortunately, the place closes at 3 p.m.

Afterward, Carlos called and it turned out we had somewhat parallel days. He spent the morning cleaning and organizing the refrigerator at home. Hooly looked inside and said it looked like a page out of Real Simple magazine. And my culinary suite kitchen at the colony that I inventoried and stocked is truly out of Renovation Style magazine, snce they did the actual renovation. Carlos went to a coffee house in Chicago for lunch and had a sandwich, much as I did at the Mud Street. I wish he were here. We have to come back together.

The streets were packed with visitors attending the town's annual folk festival. Impromtu and scheduled troupes played outside in Basin Park. Arlo Guthrie and his family had appeared at the auditorium the night before and played a lot of old Woody Guthrie tunes, from what I heard. Sorry I missed the concert by only one day.

I visited a native store that is run by Tony and Belinda, a hippie-type white couple in their forties who are sincere and easy to talk with. Told me Mud Street Café has the best coffee in town. Duly noted. I didn’t let Tony know that I had just been there. Belinda is a herbal afficionado, grows her own herbs and sells several books on the subject. She is deaf, but reads lips. They live about 10 miles outside of town in the country and make leather moccasins. Talked about the Blue Spring Heritage Center, a spring that nurtured the Cherokees on the Trail of Tears. The shop had cute, funny names for some of its teas. SeeLessO’Me tea is for weight management. BearInTheWoods is an herbal laxative tea.

Made the rest of the grand circle of the historic loop around Spring Street on foot. Eureka Springs streets are a lot like New Orleans but sort of in a western style way, have the hilly twists and turns as they do in St. John, Virgin Islands, but with a mid- to late-19th century American look. The dimly lit walk back up the hill led to the forested area surrounding the writers’ colony main house. Tony had told me that rare large, pileated woodpeckers are in these woods. I saw a large bird that looked like a pterodactyl(sp?) fly through the woods across from where I walked. It wasn’t a hawk, eagle or crow. Even unto now imagined extinct ivory-billed woodpeckers have been seen in the Arkansas woods. Reached my door just as the sun was setting at 7 p.m. Found the coffee grinder and cleaned up the blender for tomorrow’s smoothie. ◦

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