These Ozarks Hills

The first Friday of every month at 7:30 a.m.

Join us for a monthly radio essay by longtime Ozarks storyteller Marideth Sisco, in which she looks at the unique traditions and traits of this region we call home.

ksmu.org

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. I have a fact that I didn’t know until a minute ago and I thought I’d share it with you.

Did you know that this is the last episode of the 11th year of this series? How did that happen? Don’t misunderstand. Barring acts of god or congress, I’ll keep popping up on the first Fridays of the month for a good long time to come, unless I’m evicted or until I run out of things to say, which as near as I recall, has never happened.

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. There’s a certain comfort in being able to predict reliably and in advance just when that tree is going to fall, that rock face is going to collapse, the other shoe will drop. But I don’t know that that would be a good thing. I think that for me if the warning came, I wouldn’t be paying attention –or rather I’d be too rapt in attention to something else. Like that saying that “Life is the thing that happens while you’re otherwise engaged.” Ah yes. So much of life just races by, Sonie Rutstein of Disappear Fear, says. And it’s true.

www.si.edu

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. No matter where we live or in what circumstances, and no matter what life throws at us or how determinedly we walk our own path, it takes a while to determine which kinds of destinations at which we arrive are something that was optional, something we might or might not have come to, or whether it has turned out to be somehow inevitable. Relationships, for instance, for the most part are optional. We can end up in them or out of them mostly as a matter of choice.

commons.wikimedia.org

TOH 2-18

usda.gov

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. Sad to say, but I guess we’ve seen the last of the gardens for this year. And as this post falls a little too late for Halloween and way too early for snarky remarks about Black Friday and the Christmas decorations already on sale , I’m left to dream up my own topics. That’s seldom a good idea because I’m old and I tend to wander off. So far, though, I’ve been able to find my way back. And that’s just what I’ve done. Because even as I said the words I knew in my very soul that we, or at least I, had not seen the last of the garden.

Native Notions

Oct 6, 2017
wikipedia.org

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. This spate of dry Autumn days has gotten me thinking about the whimsical Ozarks climate and remembering other seasons and what folks said about them. Natives, mostly. And by that I don’t mean those born here. I mean the original natives. Now, I don’t know that I look all that much Native American, even though I am about a quarter’s worth. But sooner or later someone, usually someone with some Native American ancestry and often someone I don’t know, will come up to me out of the blue and tell me something I need to know.

nasa.gov

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. The much-diminished winds from the remains of Harvey are throwing the branches of a redbud tree against the windows in my studio, and I can’t make them stop. Pretty much a metaphor for weather in general these days. Watching the coverage of the worst storm in human memory has been sobering. It’s all too real.

http://www.euclidlibrary.org/

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. Water. Seems like there’s always too much or too little. In the Ozarks that can be true from one patch of grass to the next. Somewhere back in the long ago I remember a Disney cartoon in which Donald Duck was flying an old open cockpit biplane, hiring out to farmers to “seed” the clouds to make it rain. I have no recollection of the overall plot, if there was one. The part I remember is how he managed to make it rain exactly in the right place.

https://ids.si.edu/

Come sit by my side, come as close as the air

And share in a memory of time

And wander in my words

Dream about the pictures that I play of changes

– Phil Ochs, from Changes

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. And today, in these turbulent times, I am thinking about Changes. They may come suddenly or slip in over time, so quiet, and stealthy we may not even notice until it’s done. The snippet of the song I just sang was written in the middle 1960s by Phil Ochs, who was in his early 20s, as was I when I first heard it.

http://civiccenter.net/

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. Well, we just had our Blackberry Winter, so summer is on its way. The term, for those who don’t know, refers to that last little cold snap that always occurs toward the end of May, while the blackberries are in bloom. After a season where April arrived in February, then January returned in March, it was a comfort to me that Blackberry Winter arrived this time, as always, right on time.

Great White Ninja Production

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. As I’ve been searching for a subject on which to hold forth this month, I keep coming back to the word Vagary. It’s from the Latin vagari "to wander, to roam, to be unsettled, or be spread abroad.” Its most modern usage is, of course, the word vagrant. it’s easy to see how that fits with the original definition of the noun vagāri, to be a wanderer.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. April is upon us, with its tumultuous climate and treacherous weather, and we reflect again on the pronouncement of more than one Ozarker who said “If you don’t like the Ozarks weather, just give it a minute. It’ll change.

In Like A Lion

Mar 3, 2017
https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/lion

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. Well, as the folks in Perry County can tell you, there’s no question that March in the Ozarks came in like the proverbial lion. In ordinary times we would be confident in assuming that It will likewise go out as a lamb. But as nearly everyone can tell you, these are not in any way normal times. And about that, there’s either too very much to say, or nothing at all.

http://www.gly.uga.edu/

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. A brand new year is upon us, one which fills some with great expectations and others with just as great trepidations. Here in the Ozarks, a recipe for a host of conditions is often just as simple as a walk in the woods. And thankfully, wind and weather permitting, we have a lot of woods we can walk in.

A Gesture of Peace

Dec 2, 2016
http://astronoteen.org/

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. Well, we’ve come to it again, the yearly descent into the long dark, an occasion that is as much metaphor as is the reality of day length. It won’t console us a bit that while we descend into winter, the southern hemisphere is just now entering spring, even though that’s the reason we are able to eat strawberries in January or cherries in March. They all come from the land down under – somewhere down under, as likely to be Chile as New Zealand.

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