Sunday, February 27, 2011

West Virginia

I had the opportunity to spend the night in Charleston, WV this last Friday. I was signing copies of my book at Taylor Books - a really wonderful shop. Anyhow, I was really struck by this capital city that is fighting to reinvent itself, since coal is not what it once was. I am familiar with this kind of work being that my hometown is doing the same; it was built on tobacco (RJR), Banking (Wachovia) and textiles (Hanes). Anyway, I took time on Saturday morning to drive highway 60 out of town to Fayetteville, WV to the New River Gorge. What an amazingly beautiful drive, although depressing at points seeing what has become of the small towns along the river. I did not photograph the rows of trailer homes or closed businesses - it didn't feel right. What has happened there and what has happened here are yet more reminders that nothing is forever. To quote Amos Lee "Time, it swallows everything, from the mighty to the meager things..."

Where the mountain river flows
And the rhododendron grows
Is the land of all the lands
That I touch with tender hands;

Loved and treasured, earth and star,
By my father's father far--
Deep-earth, black-earth, of-the-lime
From the ancient oceans' time.

Plow-land, fern-land, woodland shade,
Grave-land where my kin are laid,
West Virginia's hills to bless--
Leafy songs of wilderness;

Dear land, near land, here at home--
Where the rocks are honeycomb,
And the rhododendrons . . .
Where the mountain river runs.

Louise McNeill


Clara said...

Jay and I rafted the New River years ago. Beautiful and haunting. I don't see pics of your bungee jump from the New River Bridge...forgot you camera, right?

oldpoetsoul said...

My sister and I took an exploratory trip to West Virginia in our late teens; we stayed in Charleston and went to see the bridge. Your pictures helped to bring it all back.