These Ozark Hills

Emily McTavish / KSMU

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. And this has been the oddest August so far. There’s been so much rain that everybody’s garden is still alive. What a thing. In the Ozarks, that’s a very big deal. The Ozarks is special and has been for a long time for a lot of reasons: its beauty, its history, its unique culture.

But the Ozarks has held its character as the westward flow of immigrants passed it by, chiefly because nobody wanted it.

West Plains Daily Quill

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. I’m pausing to reflect on milestones, and how, as we get older, we accumulate more and more of them. I just collected another one from the sidelines, upon hearing of the retirement this week of my mentor and former employer Frank Martin III, editor and publisher of The West Plains Daily Quill. He was the son and grandson of respected journalists, one who helped begin the University of Missouri’s school of journalism; the other a seasoned World War II correspondent.

Kathryn Ledbetter / (Facebook)

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. It’s June. Shouldn’t I be turning on my AC by now? Well, maybe today. These days, though, I doubt you’d find anyone anywhere who’d say this weather is normal. It’s odd even for the Ozarks. And then California and Texas they’ve traded weather patterns; and where there was record breaking historic drought in Texas there are killer floods destroying communities, tearing up homes and washing away the fragile, unprotected earth. And California, the Golden State, is starving for water.

St. Louis Botanical Garden
Aaron Carlson / (Flickr)

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. It’s May Day today, which in many countries has been a long celebrated traditional day of festivities; with towns and villages across Europe celebrating springtime fertility of the soil, livestock, and people in all kinds of ways with village fairs and community gatherings. Since the reform of the Catholic calendar, May 1 is also the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of all those who toil. In socialist and communist countries, it is international workers day. Here, we pretty much dance around the maypole and be done with it.

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozark Hills. Well, spring has come in the door, fitfully and uncertain, like a child who has done something probably bad, and doesn’t know if you know it yet. A warm day or two and then a burst of snow, and another. Rain maybe, but where it will fall too much or too little no one knows.

Mother Nature is nothing if not fickle. Just like a woman, we say. Well, I’d like to say a little more about that.