Big Dam Photo: Arkansas Highway 286

Southeast of Conway, 9:14 a.m.

YOU CAN CONSIDER the beauty at work here on many levels. Obviously, there are the colors: a sea of warm yellow and patches of burnt orange and green, all cast against a cerulean sky. If you look close enough, you can almost hear the steady, low-level hum of dragonflies bouncing on the breeze and bumblebees doing their instinctual dance with the sunflowers. Life, it seems, is abundant here in this grove tucked away just off a country road between Mayflower and Conway. But look closer still, and you’ll notice the ones whose petals have drawn in, their wilted blossoms pitching downward, as they begin their slow return back to the earth that bore them. And, really, there’s a quiet beauty in that, too.