The monotony of asphalt and steel on I-40 is broken when the pigs go flying by. Dozens of snouts – the only visible part of the pigs – poke out the metallic slats of a semi trailor when they pass at 70 miles per hour. The trucks have tiers, so the snouts are busily sniffing out the entire length and height of the trailer. It looks like something from the set of a science fiction movie – a mad scientist’s creation that is part living organism, part machine. I’ve seen many a pig truck in the last two years of my I-40 travels, yet the sight never fails to surprise, delight, and disturb me all at once.
Flying pigs aside, Highway 365 is the more scenic route if you have time to take it. There is a spectacle tucked around nearly every bend in the road. Mismatched dwellings are slung together with no rhyme or reason. Along one stretch of the highway, fine mansions with immaculately kept lawns neighbor rusty trailors with cars perched on cinder blocks in the front yard. Around one bend, a small home of white clapboard is attached to a mismatched wooden addition twice the size of the original dwelling. Next up, a group of trailors seem to be sagging under the weight of dreams deferred. In the large front yard of a modest home, bright farm equipment is parked. A ways down the road, a dilapidated country store of grey wood looks to be selling all manner of odd thing. Just ahead, there’s a sign for a brand new neighborhood: Mountain Crest. “Mountain” seems an overly ambitious, if not pretentious, name for these foothills. And then, small headstones of an old cemetary appear in the landscape; no fence marks its beginning or end and the stones are turned every which way. Directly across from the cemetary, two liquor stores have been erected side-by-side, marking the county line — last stop for liquor if you’re headed into Faulkner County.
Ahhh, Faulkner County. Home sweet home. If someone had told me two years ago that I’d be living in Faulkner County, I might have laughed and replied, “Yeah, when pigs fly.”
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