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Editor’s Letter – 5/2/18

Photographer Western Doughty picked me up on a rainy afternoon and we headed to Pawhuska, where his friend Hannah Knox (this issue’s cover model) lives. We picked up Hannah downtown and headed to some waterfalls coming off of Blue Stem Lake. Hannah was barefoot, as she has been for most of her 28 years on this planet. She had no trouble navigating the slick, wet rocks while Western and I slid around, trying not to eat it. He had on duck boots; I had on Chuck Taylors. A woman at the falls told us her friend had slipped and broken a hip there yesterday.

Hannah glided around like a waterfall sprite.

Western set up the shot. Hannah stepped down into the moving water. Her face changed.

“I think I just cut myself,” she said. “I know I did. I don’t want to look.”

I looked. Sure enough, blood pooled in the water beneath her foot.

She toed around a bit with the other foot and found a jagged half of a glass beer bottle sitting upright. Like a booby trap, it had been perfectly covered in moss. There was no way for her to have seen it.

Much later—after taking photos (a task which, like a badass, Hannah insisted we complete) and tending to her wounds—Hannah wrote to me:

“Disrespecting nature is one of the most awful things to me. I know it is possible to have fun and be wild and free while respecting the environment around us—because that's how I try to live every day. Going barefoot is part of my lifestyle, attempting to live in harmony with the natural world. I'm sure-footed and aware, but someone disrespected nature—and at an intersection of their ideals and mine, I ended up hurt.”

A few days later, I visited family and friends in Oklahoma City. We picnicked in Edgemere Park, down the street from where I grew up. There’s a little creek that runs through the park, and while our dogs were bounding through the grass and splashing in the water, my dog, Mini, cut her foot. The gash was in nearly the same spot as Hannah’s—except this one was on a paw.

My husband and I cared for her wound, but she is limping around today as I write this, stuck inside rather than able to run around chasing squirrels and rolling on stink bugs like her dog heart desires.

Both events were strong reminders to not litter, pick up trash when you see it and are able, respect nature—and keep a first aid kit in your car. Those are my festival (or are they survival?) tips. In this issue, you’ll find a few more—like suggestions for what to pack in your bug-out bag and what kinds of canned food might be worth having around. If this kind of talk makes you anxious, you might find respite in a local theater.

I wish Hannah and Mini speedy recoveries.

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