Memphis and Graceland

We popped out of the green corridor after crossing the Mississippi into the endless lush farmlands of eastern Arkansas. The land became flat, the sky big. Large cumulus clouds gathered as we made our way across the state into 103 degree heat. After we passed Little Rock on our way to Fort Smith we began to notice large lakes with trees growing up at regular intervals through the water. I assume this is not the natural state of the landscape, but the result of recent flooding.
We leave behind Memphis and Graceland. Graceland was a highlight so far. A moderate fan until yesterday, that has changed after seeing what Elvis did for the history of rock and roll, for his local community and for charities nationwide. I know, it’s Elvis, but now I get it. The exhibits are designed to paint a clear picture of exactly the role Elvis played in music history, down to the minute. An “aha” moment for me.
The house itself and all of the kitch and spectacle was a great photographic playground. Still-life’s abound, and the low lighting, strange color scheme and absence of flash create unusual color shifts in the camera. I couldn’t get enough of that.
Last night we set out for Beale street, a long, loud, lit up party in the streets. We heard some damn good blues in the streets – one band after the other. It supported my belief that we really don’t know who’s the “best” at a profession – the best doctor, musician, artist – that person might be hiding among us, undiscovered but by a small following. Or s/he may reside in the jungles of Pacifica, forever secreted from the rest of us. Anyway – we also stumbled across a very strong, moving Photography exhibit. Ernest Withers’ images documenting the civil rights movement in luscious silver prints was comprehensive and thought provoking.
So here we are in Fort Smith. The first thing to do is to look up something interesting to see or do here. Or, as this is just a stop on the way to Oklahoma, maybe it’s a good time to just regroup and rest up for tomorrow’s drive.

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