Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wye Me??!!

Last year my sister saw a listing in Southern Living magazine Calendar of Events for a Daffodil Festival in Wye, Arkansas. Since neither of us had ever heard of Wye, Arkansas, before (despite the fact that we were Arkansas natives who have lived in the state all our lives), our curiosities were aroused. Through the use of a trusty Arkansas map, and the Internet, I found out that Wye, Arkansas, is in Perry County, in central Arkansas. Furthermore, I had a trip to central Arkansas planned for the time period involved, so I determined to try to visit this location. After driving for what seemed like days, I finally found the intersections of Highway 113 and Highway 300 where the Wye Mountain United Methodist Church is located. It is this group of Christ-followers that we can thank, for their years of effort that have gone into the planting of thousands of daffodil bulbs. Besides the beauty that the site offers, it is used as a fundraiser for their church. Each spring, they sell bulbs, as well as the opportunity to pick your own bouquet of already-blooming daffodils. (The picking of blooming daffodils is managed by roping off various changing locations of the property where it is permissible to pick flowers in bloom, hence avoiding completely devastating the site by too many bouquet gatherers at one time). There is also a building adjacent to the fields where hand-made crafts are sold (most with a daffodil theme), as well as home-baked goodies. In addition, there are picnic tables, and portable toilets for the public to use free of charge. Inside the church, you can attend Good Friday services each Easter weekend, followed by an outdoor Easter Sunday Sunrise Service (April 12, 2009) at the Cross location in the midst of the field of daffodils. Looking at the beauty of these remarkable yellow creations,p brings to mind the words of Jesus, as recorded in Luke 12:27 "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!" These are good words to keep in mind during tough economic conditions when many are worrying about their worldly attire and possessions. When I visited Wye, I was mainly interested in doing some photography. If that is your purpose, I would recommend going on a weekday, rather than a weekend, to avoid excessive people "cluttering" your photos. Furthermore, on a weekday, if you want to take a self-portrait in the field, I'd recommend a tripod, as there is nothing to set your camera on for such a shot, and not many visitors in the field on weekdays, that you could ask to take a photo for you. The upper right hand photo of me in the collage above is "lopsided", because I had to hang my camera by its strap on a fence post to get the shot. Such measures do not make for a well-composed piece of art! However, if you would like a great day in the outdoors with your family or friends, try to attend the Daffodil Festival events held on the weekends. You can enjoy the people-watching, as well as the flower watching, AND attend regular Sunday morning worship services at the church. For more information on the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival, visit www.wyemountainumc-daffodilfestival.com or email wyedaffodils@comcast.net. If you go, have a "bloomin' good time" with miles of smiles! Tricia
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Ozark Mountain Feis


One of the many expeditions I took during the two-week period I was without electricity, following the "Ozark Mountain Ice Storm of the Century" was to the "Ozark Mountain Feis". The Ozark Mountain Feis was held on the outer boundary of the ice storm (Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri), so they were able to proceed with full electrical power as scheduled. If you are like me, you may not know the meaning of the word "Feis". According to Wikipedia, a Feis is a traditional Gaelic arts and culture festival. The plural form is "Feiseanna". The history of a Feis goes back to ancient Ireland, when communities placed great importance on local festivals where Gaels could come together in song, dance, music, theater, and sport. In modern times, the Feis is seeing a comeback, and the the World Competition for Irish Dance (called "Oireachtas") is even being held for the first time in the United States. The 2009 competition is scheduled for the city of brotherly love (aka, Philadelphia) for later this year. The event I attended was hosted by the McCafferty School of Irish Dance, which has locations in Little Rock, Fayetteville, and Fort Smith. Competitors were drawn from several nearby states, plus there were numerous vendor tables from throughout the U.S., selling all things Gaelic. I was amazed to see the prices on some of the brightly-colored dresses at the vendor exhibits---ranging from $1,100 - $1,500 (these prices were actually seen on previously-worn dresses, but they had the promise of "good karma" from a past competition, written on their price information tags). However, the dress is just the beginning of one's financial commitment----add to this the price of special dance shoes, special "poodle" knee socks, the mandatory curly, bouncy wigs all the girls were wearing, dance lessons, travel to competitions, and you have a somewhat "Big Ticket" hobby for a youngster. Yet, I am a big proponent of encouraging physical activity in our youth (as a measure to reduce the childhood obesity epidemic in our country's young people), so I would have to give this a positive score for parental consideration. Plus, when you see how darling the lads and lassies look all dressed up in Feis attire, you think you know the origin of the term "feisty" to describe a vivacious young girl or boy! And don't forget what Scripture says on the topic of dance: "Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp." (Psalm 149:3) If you would like to attend a Feis, but can't make it to Philadelphia---you're in luck! There is another one, The Little Rock Feis, scheduled for April 25,2009, at the Statehouse Convention Center. (see www.ArkansasFeis.com for more information). I don't know if you will find a "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow" there, as told in Irish legends, but you will certainly find a rainbow of colors, and "miles of smiles"!! Dance on!
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