So, I have this professional development workshop tomorrow. I fully plan on enjoying it – it is on folk music and education, and since I do arts integrated programs in schools, and I incorporate folk music into them, this was something that I really wanted. Best of all, this collaboration between the Arkansas Arts Council and the Arkansas Dept. of Education meant that this PD gives me double credit, both as an Arkansas Arts in Education artist, and a person with a valid teacher’s licence that has to have so many PD hours a year to renew.
Now, this PD was of even more interest to me because of the location – the Ozark Folk Center. I love the Folk center. If I was independently wealthy, I would spend a lot of time there. I would take a dozen workshops a year there. I would buy an RV and virtually live in the next door RV park. I actually worked there for one season, as one of their day musicians. I was also on the list of square dancers and even performed a couple of times in their evening programs.
So when I learned the location of this workshop, I was faced with a choice: Get up really, really early Monday morning and make the 1 1/2 – 2 hour drive (depending on route, weather, and traffic) or come in Sunday and camp at my favorite campground in the area.
That would be the aforementioned RV park. Ozark RV park is literally next door to the folk center. I mean, you walk through a gate, and you are right there.
My mom and I discovered the place years and years ago. For a short time, we did craft fairs together. We were doing a fair that was taking place at the Ozark Folk Center. Mom and Dad had an rv, and mom and I were going to take the rv up, camp out in it, and do the craft fair. When we found that the Ozark RV Park was right next door, that was where we went.
What a wonderful place. Friendly people. Clean bath houses. And high quality toilet paper. I mean, better toliet paper than I usually see in Hilton’s. We only stayed a couple of days, but I never forgot it. And years later, when I worked that one season at the Ozark Folk Center, I called them up and asked them if they did tent camping as well as RVs. Well, they did. So every weekend I worked at the Center that summer, I camped next door.
So, what did I do for this workshop? Hauled out my tent, and set it up next door.
The impetus for me writing this post was the feeling of comfort and relaxation that I just experienced. Although the office was closed by the time I got here, I had plenty of time to set up my tent during the light. Then I went into town to buy ice. I could have gotten ice from the cooler here and paid for it tomorrow – this is that type of RV park – but I elected to just go on and buy one in town. Came back, sat down outside my tent, ate my ham and cheese wrap that I had made. And then I just sat down and played my dulcimer a little while in the dark. All around me was the sound of crickets and cicadas. The occasional night-bird called. And as I sat in the evening coolness, in the night, I felt – calm. At peace. Comforted.
I am under a lot of stress, financial, grief, frustration, job (lack of). But at that moment, everything was perfect. For just that moment, I had gotten away from it all. I was content with who I am and where I was.
So I left that perfection to come find electricity to type a blog post. I wanted to share that moment of peace with anyone who reads this. And I want to encourage you to get away from it all, even if it is just for a day. Find a place, a moment of peace and contentment, and soak it up.
And I’m going back to that peace in a few minutes.
And I want to encourage anyone coming up to the Folk Center, if you want to camp or bring an rv, try the Ozark RV Park. It’s a wonderful place.