Lazy Day Destinations – “White Silver Sands Bluff”
James R. Aist
Growing up in rural Arkansas left me with many fond memories of favorite places, especially when it was summer vacation and I could just pick up and go by myself, or with a friend or two, on a hot, lazy summer afternoon.
When I was around 12 years old and my family lived in Evening Shade (the real one, population 315, not the fictional one on the TV sit-com), one of my favorite places was “Joe Rock.” Just across Highway 11 from Evening Shade, and about a ten minute walk down a winding farm road (see photo at upper right), was Piney Creek, which ran clear in the summer until the dog days of August set in. If you made a right turn when you reached Piney Creek and followed along the creek bank for maybe 150 yards or so, you came to Joe Rock. Now Joe Rock was usually the target destination whenever we followed that path to Piney Creek, because it was a nice, private swimming hole (click HERE). But there were a couple of other favorite places to visit farther down the creek. I have already recounted the story about Mill Creek and “Bubbling Springs”(click HERE).
So, now let’s start where Mill Creek flows into Piney Creek, past Joe Rock about 150 yards or so. From there, you could see another “natural wonder”, a pristine place just a little farther down the creek that I will call “White Silver Sands Bluff.” This was where Piney Creek made a broad, sweeping turn to the left. Just beyond the outer bank of that turn in the creek, on the right, was a beautiful, solid, rock bluff about 20 feet high. And on the inner bank, to the left, was a sand bar and beach of fine, white sand, dotted here and there with little tufts of vegetation (OK, weeds) and small rocks. It was a beautiful site to see, very peaceful, serene and quiet, and I was always amazed that such a wonderful place could exist that close to civilization and yet remain unknown to all but a very few who chanced upon it. It was a perfect lazy day destination, where you could be alone with your thoughts while sitting on the beach resting your feet in the warm, clear soothing water as it passed silently by.
But, White Silver Sands Bluff was also a place that could afford an adventuresome interlude now and then. One day while ambling along this pristine beach without a care in this world, I noticed that there was a tiny (baby) snake wriggling its way toward the water. Now, I had a history of playing with (harmless) green snakes on the family dairy farm, when we lived miles away in Cypress Valley. So, I walked over to this little snake to see if it was poisonous or not. Turns out, it looked like it might be a baby water moccasin, but its poison glands did not appear to be well developed yet. Then I (foolishly) decided it would be a good idea to find out if it was a water moccasin by sticking my bare foot in front of it to see if it would bite me and leave fang marks. So, I did, and it did! Suddenly I became worried that maybe I had underestimated the maturity of its poison sacks, because the cute little fang marks on the end of my “test” toe were becoming more and more conspicuous. So, having no other recourse, I headed straight for home, anxiously keeping an eye on my poor toe all the way.
Fortunately, there was no swelling of my “test” toe when I got home, so there was really no reason to tell anyone what I had done…right? But I did promise myself I would never do that again. Now before you’re too hard on me for doing such a foolish thing in the first place, let me remind you that I was right, after all…the snake was too young to be poisonous. So there!
(For more TRUE TALES, click HERE)