streaks of pale blue sunset gobble up the rest of the horizon / Table Rock Lake hurls itself around in dream or wonder. my mother played here as a girl, skipping rocks with her grandparents / now the thrill of wild cloud shapes still satisfy the eye. Silver Dollar City splays out like an accordian – banjo fingered inlets and hills dressed in 1880’s finery – swelling to the brim with nostalgia and creation -praying to the past without repent. roller coasters swim in imagined narrative – the pearl of the wild west, of the hillbilly freedom of Ozark mischief murmurs in the mountains, in kitsch shops, in theatrics. we tell ourselves the story of the past, of the wild west, of the way the wilderness harnessed something, the way cowboys grabbed the rocks by the hand and shook them in their fists until america popped out of the stork. but what a tiny sliver of time – and how much time were these lands native lands. filled with a culture beyond hillbilly, beyond rapscallion, beyond outlaw. what do these hills know, what do we let them know, what narrative do we keep clinging to – in a small pocket of history, in a dark and stormy closet of our hearts, of our collective american narrative. the dark, toothless and ignorant outlaw – we keep clinging to this. we keep finding reasons to call ourselves home in this image. and still, too, Table Rock Lake whispers its own journey, sings its own ancient melodies. and still, too, rainbow trout swim in sea grasses, the sky meets the horizon at the breaking place – glows glitter and wildfire, does not adhere to the simple corners of our imagined narratives. rough edged rocks and bark-tongued tree spines – the mountains rise up with their own story. tectonic plates and spring-sourced-water-flows, ancient ridges and eyes rising to the sky. for the violet kiss of the sun on the horizon each night. and we do not own this land. and this land has a secret story all of its own. and our pitter-patter narratives fall like silver rain, and we keep imagining. and we keep dreaming, and clinging to the past that keeps passing us by. and we keep watching the sunset, and we keep imagining it is for us, and not for the lake itself. and we keep writing stories, and imagining we are the only ones with interesting things to say.