As you turn off Arkansas State Highway 71 and head down the mountain into Lake Fort Smith State Park, you can’t help but bear witness to the owner of an old house as he proudly primes his political pump with a large banner proclaiming “Trump 2024” too loud. And far too early.
His neighbors along Highway 71 may not mind.
Many alert the rest of us to their affinity for slave-owners and traitors to the US Constitution by hoisting high the flag of the Confederate States of America.
In stark contrast to this human ugliness is the natural beauty of Lake Fort Smith State Park.
This was our family’s fourth New Year’s Eve spent in a cabin at the park; we’ve spent others at Lake Ouachita State Park and Petit Jean. New Years in an Arkansas state park is now family tradition, born of a desire to escape the gunfire and fireworks that invasively herald the urban new year.
This particular state park is special, though.
Our wireless carrier cannot quite stretch its signal into the Ozark mountains of Arkansas, and so our trips here have given us the opportunity to unplug and go “off the grid.”
The park itself is filled with a welcoming silence at New Years. The cold winter air discourages participation in the water motorsports that manufacture most of the noise on Arkansas lakes.
I stood, New Years morning, on the dock of the lack and listened to the blissful sound of complete silence. No bird dared chirp; no breeze had a word worth whispering. Even the interminable ringing in my ears put its proverbial feet up and took a power-nap.
If there is a heaven, it would (for me) be utterly silent. Except on the seventh day, when there would be music.
Some of these pictures were taken with vintage analog lenses (a Pentax 28mm, 50mm, and an Olympus 100mm) mounted on a mirrorless Fuji XT3.
I believe that every camera lens has a history etched in the glass by the light it captured. Looking through those Pentax lenses transports me to photo adventures I went on 40 years ago. Maybe I’ll find all those negatives someday.
I hope you enjoy the images taken at Lake Fort Smith State Park New Years’ Eve weekend (2022-2023).
Have a Happy New Year.
Click on the first photo to see the complete photos in gallery format.