Banner Mountain Girl # 69

From my journal: “It is raining very hard. The sky is dark and heavy with clouds full of water. It is a day in which I am usually lonely, but today my heart is filled with joy that is lasting over into this dark and rainy day.”

I am a writer and I must write. Often, I wonder what is new to write? Even if, like Hemingway, I should begin with one true sentence, how would I complete a work that I haven’t even thought about? It’s amazing how sometimes my words and phrases tumble over each other to crowd the page, and other times, the page remains blank because a long, dry spell has control of my sub-conscious. Writer’s block is for real from time to time in a writer’s life. And it’s to be expected. As far as I can tell, there’s no quick cure for it.

Journal entry: “I have no creative thoughts but I feel compelled to write something. Drove out to Banner Mountain. Enjoyed the peacefulness of the woods. I always like to go back there.”

Going back to Banner Mountain is like going back home–the place I left at the age of barely nineteen. On an autumn day following our wedding and honeymoon, my husband and I loaded our wedding gifts into the car he had borrowed from an Air Force buddy and we began our journey in life together. A couple of days later, we arrived at Smoky Hill Air Force Base out on the Kansas plains–the countryside so different from my beloved Banner Mountain, with its woodlands, its songbirds, goldfinch on hoeand its kind and gentle people. I would meet other wonderful people as we followed my husband’s military career. I would live in other states in the United States and in one foreign country before my husband retired. After his retirement we moved back to Arkansas, back to the Ozarks to live not very far from Banner Mountain.  © Freeda Baker Nichols

Banner Mt.


Banner Mountain Girl # 54 — A Friend Never Says Goodbye



A Friend Never Says Goodbye 

A friend is one who stands nearby.
When others go their way,
a friend arrives to stay,
to laugh with you or sometimes cry.
One who will hold your hand
and always understand,
a friend will never say goodbye.

                                                             © Freeda Baker Nichols




BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL #24 In the springtime

copy-cropped-cropped-homeplace.jpg                                    (Homeplace from a painting by Yvonne Baker Hall)

As I remember Banner Mountain in the springtime, I think of how the apple blossoms and plum blossoms greeted me as I returned from school. I might not have noticed the fresh blooms in the orchard as I left the house to walk up the trail to the Banner School. But always on my return, the orchard welcomed me back home from a day of “readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic” and playing with my friends.

Yvonne & Freeda Baker

Yvonne & Freeda Baker

Yvonne and I at the homeplace, standing between the daffodils and the lilac bush. With two years difference in our ages, we were inseparable. Mama said that when I started to school that Yvonne was very lonely. She’d go outside and call for our dog, named Rusty. “Here, Rust! Here, Rust!” In a couple of years, though, Yvonne joined me on the walk to school. As time went by, Rust met his fate although I don’t recall when or how he died. Another dog named Fuzzy came into our lives, and he was allowed to go with us to school. He waited around for us until school was out and he hurried along as we headed back home.  At the close of school for the summer when certificates were given to those completing the eighth grade, Fuzzy received a certificate, too. I don’t know how much Fuzzy learned but he was well-behaved and friendly to all.

The lilacs, the daffodils, and the orchard’s pink and white blooms were such a pleasant sight–the memory of which I still cherish from long-ago spring-times on Banner Mountain. ~~Freeda Baker Nichols


the bluebird flies purposefully


DSC_0065Gene, Freeda, cave on Baker Place, ClintonI am a writer, and I write.  Racehorses run races because they are compelled by forces larger than themselves and writers write because of an inner force too strong to be ignored.   I write to fulfil a need that I believe I was born with–a desire to put words into stories and poems, to create situations and re-live experiences in order to share with others. I write for fun and for profit.

When the wellspring within me overflows with ideas, I grab a pen and paper and write the ideas down.  I pay attention to detail, to unusual happenings, to unique and common conversations.  People are interesting to me.   I am one of the many inhabitants of this earth.  I write to communicate with others.

Writing is therapeutic but that’s not the reason I write.  In fact, I won’t write when I’m extremely sad because I don’t want sadness to show through and discourage others.  Optimism is what I want to express through my words.

I write for fun although some of my better poems came from unhappy times in my life.  Some of my most frustrating episodes turn into humorous stories or poems.  How can sitting at a desk, writing,  be fun, asked my super-active youngest son who is a plumber, by trade.  A daring child when he was a youngster, his idea of fun was spinning the tires of a four-wheel drive truck deep in mud along the riverbank.

Through writing, my reader and I can go into  dangerous areas without leaving our homes.  And I have fun.

  I write for profit, although writing has not been very lucrative.  Still, I attempt to earn money with writing.  And I wind up with pocket-money, at least.

To entertain with  words is my goal and I feel like an actress on a stage.  I want to be good at writing, to be remembered as an author who caused others to read, to laugh, to cry.  I want my readers to be encouraged, to believe that life must be lived to its fullest, that precious time must not be squandered.

I like to draw and to paint and would have enjoyed being an artist.  I have no time for art  because something compels me to write, keeps me at it,  and won’t allow me to be disheartened for long.

That “something” drives me, has driven me since I was nine years old.  Sometimes, it hides from me temporarily, but it always returns and heads me back toward the green meadows, it takes me over purple mountains, it allows me to watch an eagle glide, and sustains me through all my winters and summers.

A racehorse races because he can.

I’m a writer. I write because I must.  I have no choice.

cCopyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

Looking Back into my Journal

From my 1980sBig truck and little truck (3) Journal: “Time is a most precious gift. We must cherish it as we would our very best friend. We must greet it with a most warm welcome and treat it with respect because the time of each day is as a guest who will not come our way again.” —Freeda Baker Nichols, Tuesday, March 25, 1980.rose-1

Unwanted Hickory Nut

Ripe hickory nuts ready to fall, Andrews, SC

Ripe hickory nuts ready to fall, Andrews, SC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A hickory nut
damp in February snow
hugged the ground
that shielded roots
of its mother tree.

No squirrel
to crack the nut. No one to
choose it for toppings on pies.
Alone, it embraced
the cold earth.

Snow melted. Sun dried
the hickory nut. March wind–
cutting like a lion’s tooth–whistled
and puffed until topsoil
buried the little nut.

April sun,
warm as an iron, heated
on a wood-burning stove,
pointed to earth
with white-hot rays.

Delicate and pea green,
sheltered by arms of the
mighty mother tree, a tiny
hickory shoot peeked shyly
from its shell.

c Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols