Wild Ozark

~ Rock Foraging Nature Artist & Real Estate Agent in Kingston, AR ~

Welcome! Madison Woods is my pen-name. I’m a rock-smashing, paint-making nature artist in Arkansas. My real name is Roxann Riedel, and aside from being a nature-loving artist, I’m a REALTOR® with Montgomery Whiteley Realty.

(479)409-3429, or email madison@wildozark.com

There was a time when I thought it was only this particular place I call Wild Ozark that held such importance in my life. While I do truly love this place I’m planted, over the years, through travel and difficult circumstances, I’ve learned that the land inspires me no matter where I am.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the fine powdered sand dunes of Qatar, the breathtaking Rocky Mountains of Colorado, or the views through the windshield as I cross the six bridges along our county road, or the intimacy of being on hands and knees in the moldering leaves of the forest here. I seek out connection even when I’m stepping outside from buildings deeply embedded in a city.

In every case, the land inspires, wherever it is that I find myself. …

chickweed with orange fungi

A Sensory Connection

Sight and sound are the predominant senses engaged when it is wilderness. But if I’m traveling to new or even familiar places like cities or urban areas of the land, then smells and flavors enter the picture, too. The human culture is also part of the land, right? The sensation of touch, whether it is at a carpet shop in Abu Dhabi, or the bristly leaves of wild comfrey in our own woods, exists in the background throughout.

But it’s at home where I’m surrounded by familiar sensory experiences that I get to explore the most.

The Sound of Water

Wild Ozark Trickle Falls Splashes

When it rains enough to cause the creeks to flow, I listen to their music even from our porch.

The part of the creek near the gate.
The part of the creek near the gate.

More subdued and full of nuance, though, is the sound that each little waterfall makes as it flows over rocky spills when the water isn’t rushing at a deafening pace.

The sound of water is a big one here. Once, when I was tracking the source of a spring, even the sound of my own heartbeat played one of the soundtracks. On that hot summer day the journey began at the bottom of the mountain that rises behind our house.

I heard a quiet drip-drip-drip when I was out hiking around. On a whim, I decided to track it, and so I climbed a little higher and stopped to listen. There it was again. A quiet drip-drip-drip. I found that drip and climbed higher to see where it started its journey. The hill became quite steep and I rested, facing uphill with my back against the trees. During those rest breaks, the sound of my heart beating drowned out the sound of the drip. Once it subsided, then I could hear the little drips again and I continued to search.

reconnect to nature by listening to a spring. it's one of the ways the land inspires.
reconnect to nature by listening to a spring drip

Eventually I made it to a bench on the mountain where a taller-than-me boulder rested. And at the base of that rock was the source of the spring I was hunting. Water pooled up through sand and then quickly disappeared into the ground a little ways downhill. At every little exit all the way down to my starting point is where I’d encountered those drip-drip-drips that led me to continue climbing higher.

A Partnership

As with a partnership in every other way, it is a give and a take. For our part, we try to live gently on the land and not take more than we need. We respect the balance of nature, and understand it means that there will be both predator and prey animals to keep that balance.

Coexistence is possible, most of the time. That doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to relocate rattlesnakes and copperheads away from our occupied spaces. But I personally draw a line at allowing brown recluses to live in the house and I kill those when I see them.

We give by acknowledging the right of the land to maintain its ‘wildness’. There’s no need to tame every acre of this property. And we take sustenance (wild herbs, harvest game), supplies (firewood and building materials, rocks), and enjoyment.

Ways the Land Inspires Me

functionally, creatively, spiritually

Over the years since moving here, the land inspires me to do things like stack rocks for making garden walls, or crush them for making paint. The things I see inspire all of the artwork I’ve created.

But it’s also a spiritual inspiration. I feel, in a way that is difficult to describe, … connected. I have a place in the world where I feel that I fit. This isn’t really getting the point across, I’m afraid, but it’s a spiritual sort of connection. I guess you could say that God is present in a sort of trinity- me, the land, and God. A communion.

Anyway, I think I would be able to form that connection regardless of where I am now. As I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, there was a time that I thought this connection was specific to this place. But it’s not. It exists everywhere I go.

The land and everything I’ve experienced with it influences my art and my writing. This blog post itself is a result of how the land inspires me. My fiction is inspired by it too.

Does the Land Inspire You?

If you have a connection that inspires you like this, please share. I’d love to hear how others feel or experience it.

bear track

Nature-influenced Art

If you’re new here and haven’t seen my artwork, here’s a few of my personal favorites. Here’s the available originals, but prints are available for all of them. And here’s where you can view it all!

Want Land like Wild Ozark?

If you’re in the market to buy your own slice of the Ozarks, I can help you find property as wild as Wild Ozark.

Roxann Riedel, Montgomery Whiteley Realty

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