Have you ever been to Steel Creek, not too far from Ponca? That is one of my favorite places. Several years ago I was in a deep state of despair and depression. Nothing I tried seemed to go right. One Sunday I went to church but could not go in I was crying so hard I knew I would just upset everyone. I left the church parking lot and drove up highway 21 into Newton County. I went to Steel Creek and just sat in my truck and stared at the high bluffs and the slow moving water. It is a catherdral created by nature. The largest grandest church in the world cannot compare to the majesty of that place. Feeling better I drove on in to Jasper, but even that tiny town seemed overcrowded and claustrophobic after the perfect beauty I experienced at Steel Creek.
Several rivers including the Buffalo, Mulberry, War Eagle and, I think, the White all begin within a few miles of each other in Southern Madison County. It is strange to think that those tiny spring fed creeks are really the beginning of such grand rivers that helped shape the Ozarks we know today. One small stream of water or one seemingly insignificant person can truly change and shape the world. Perhaps that was the message I got at Steel Creek that long-ago Spring day.
Its funny, I have been to Ponca and the surrounding area many times, but I have never seen the Elk.
Oh, and Alexandria, those big kitties you heard were probably a wild cat (there are several varities) and should not be fooled with, they have a bad attitude in general. When I was a kid we went horseback riding around the farm. The horses refused to go down in the hollar. My Dad tried to force old Charlie to go and Charlie turned around and bit Daddy. We gave up and rode around the pasture instead. That night the wild cats screamed all night long. That is one of the eeriest sounds I ever heard.