Saturday, March 18, 2006
back from West Virginia. my first time there was only 5 years ago, and I haven't been there that often, but I feel connected to WV. e'en tho I also feel like a foreigner. the trip goes like this: 95 to 90 to 84 to 81 to 68 to 79, after which it is 20 miles of hill and dale. Massachusetts and Connecticut are the boring parts of the journey, both states seem strictly like the suburbs. the landscape gets interesting in NY. I like that run down from Stormville to the Hudson, past the state pennitentiary with the terrific view. lovely river. we also crossed the Delaware and Susquehanna along the way. temperature was springlike in Massachusetts but in NY it was colder and a bejesus and persistent headwind greeted us. Pennsylvania is lovely, those rolling hills. you wonder why it aint more crowded. how does it happen that such large tracts of seemingly unused land remain? well, don't knock it. we stopped somewhere near Harrisburg, for once not doing a death march. cripes, it was even windier in Penn. a flake or 2 of snow sputtered thru the air. I do believe it was even windier the next day. we stopped for lunch in Hancock MD, a pretty little town and a friendly place. I'm thinking there was a Civil War engagement in Hancock but I lack that perfect expertise to aver vociferously such a fact. MD's another lovely looking place. the western part, the hills start getting sudden. there's a terrific gap in the mountain where the highway cuts thru, Sideling Hill, which is a thrill. view of a goodly expanse of the land around. zip thru the busy river port of Cumberland, home of Lindy "The Leash" England. I don't want to minimize her despicable crime, but the word scapegoat has floated into my brain. the final interstate leaves us but a few miles from the Sago Mine where 8 miners recently died. gas prices in MD and WV were some 30 cents more expensive than our typical commonWEALTH outlay. downright springlike in WV. buds were breaking, daffodils were a-shine in the sun (varmints don't eat daffodils). we stayed at the Conrad Motel in beautiful downtown Glenville. the brochure for the place adverts the proximity of restaurants, post office and even one of them there fancy dan ATMs. Glenville State sits atop the preposterously steep hill overlooking the town, so the town's "a-buzz" with activity. certes, the festival they have in the summer is worth the trip. they close off Main St and there's old-timey fiddlers and clog dancing and loads of food and crafts. we ate, as we usually do, at the Common Place. there's a Pizza Hut across the way, and a couple of other places (including a coffee shop!!!), and a dingy looking bar that we haven't tasted the pleasures of, nor likely ever will. the Common Place is a storefront diner with 2 rooms, smoking and non-smoking. everyone knows each other there, and we, even, are becoming "familiar". a couple of the waitresses are students at the college, which gave a continental freshness to the place. I kid you not. our reason for coming down was sad and goodbye. Beth's father left her the property where he lived. he grew up on the property, which afterwards went out of the family, but later was bought by her father and his brother. he retired to it after his wife died. we would love to hold onto to the farm but it is just beyond our means to do so. selling it is a painful loss for Beth. for Erin too. and I loved that plot of land as well. a couple of years ago we rented the place out to the son of our neighbours down there at chicken feed prices, happy to help out a young couple and have someone caretake the place. in a year they totally trashed the place, which is why we went down and fixed the pace up last fall. not far back of the house we discovered a disturbing sight: the bones of at least 8 deer. we thought at 1st that this was poaching, a gross sort of profligate poaching, like the buffalo hunters who took just the tongue or hump or whatever choice morsel and left the rest. a lot of hunting in WV is about getting food, it aint a Dick Cheney snotbag pigeon shoot. but there is a current in the state, the give up urge, a mirroring of the land rape by the oil/coal/gas companies. I mean, it is a funny place. you see shacks and mobile homes dumped in place in the most random, thoughtless and careless manner, and right next door are homes that are kept spic and span. there's the concept there of the Sears Roebuck home. which being ones that were bought with the proceeds from sale of mineral rights back to the gas companies. a penny rich/pound foolish situation, because there are places, including the one Beth owned, with FREE GAS!!! but it is part of the bifurcating of the populaion. some are plugging, some aint. that massacre of deer was all the wrong note to face, as we were trying to say goodbye. we learned, tho, that coyote had moved in. they were large coyote, which is to say dog/coyote crosses. such aren't wary of people. Beth found signs of bear too. it was an emotional time for Beth. we kinda dashed away. we motored up to Hancock again, for dinner. a young waitress was astonished by Erin. she was short and he a good 18" taller than her. that was funny to witness. guy with white hair came up to the table to ask if anyone had ever told me I looked like Christopher Reeve. there aint much conversation that can arise from that opening, especially as, of course, the answer is no. but thanks for asking. despite a few signs that were obviously fakes to throw off the unwary, we were able to locate a motel. we reversed our direction the next morning. the wind, again, was frore, and I do mean frore. lunch occured near Scranton at a truck stop. the restaurant had a section reserved for truckers. apparently you must provide proof of having a big rig. I don't have a big rig, sadly, but I am not going to lie about it. so we were in the non-trucker section and the waitress paid us no mind. didn't even call me sugar. I had a sandwich made with ham-cured salt. the potato chips, tho, were homemade: they deep-fried the buggers on the spot. on and on we went, until we reached Connecticut, where traffic tie ups are born. there is always a feeling of imminent stoppage on rt 84 in Connecticut. we hit a few such cloggings. they were of the sort that don't seem to have any instigation, nor do they clear for any apparent reason. so we got home at dinner time, to the relief of dog and cat. we have a girl come in and do for the pets. she's done so several times but has never seen our inter-dimensional feline. she's not the only one who thinks that our reference to cat ownership is fanciful if not psychotically inspired. and here I have chugged wordage for oh so long, and you know what? this is whence poetry springs. I don't mean inspirations of self-import but from the collisions, atomic gamboling. for see: love, and curiosity, and determination (a political canard, I suppose), and scrutiny, and bequeath, and into it. I don't blather this all just only for self advert, honest to gosharoony. of course I grok the blogwise radiation of intent. but intent is smaller than the action of the words. words take over, because they live that way. I'm tired of poetry always being poetry, when it could be any writing in the world of sun and moon. I see thought and active and radiant and then there's the touch. that touch, see, that means.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Sunday, March 12, 2006
we spent yesterday afternoon in Lowell, visiting Beth's cousin. he moved there recently, to a place right in the centre. Lowell's not far away but doesn't seem to be in a direction we go much. Beth's cousin lives in sight of Town Hall. atop the Town Hall is a bold eagle for a weathervane. for a city that has been utmostly seedy, it is making a comeback. those abandoned textile mills are now seen as condo conversion resource, or at least rentable to stores and brewpubs. the Lowell Spinners have a nifty new stadium: minor league teams are a sign of potential economic health for a town. we didn't really tour much. I'm sure there's a regular plgrimage to Kerouac's homestead. the scroll for On the Road is touring the country, and I can only expect it to make a stop in Lowell. Kerouac t-shirts were at the Barnes and Noble, which is really just Umass Lowell's bookstore. lots of big stone edifices fill the landscape. Beth's cousin lives in a former bank, above a bakery and a bar. we ate just down the street in an Indian resaurant. I believe Lowell has the largest Cambodian population outside of Phnom Penh. I also believe that Thoreau wrote about his adventures paddling down the Merrimack, and Concord, even this far and further, whilst ensconced at his Walden cabin. a trolley runs from the trolley museum to points unknown, at least by me. at intersections a man in the trolley hops off and waves a red flag to encourage cars to stop (of course this is only a suggestion). at one intersection a very cool, or out of it, young fellow, unhesitatingly crossed the street with no concern for the traffic around him. either that's god tempering the wind for the shorn sheep or, more likely, the power of drugs. all over the place are hip and/or ethnic restaurants. bare midriffs are the fashion no matter what the temperature. yesterday was a springlike, albeit breezy, day. a few weeks ago when Erin's mock trial team competed here, it was much colder yet the fashion held. I understand that some of the granite used locally (perhaps moreso in nearby Lawrence), for curbs and such, were taken from ancient standing stones in the area. some ways north in New Hampshire is a place called American Stonehenge (where the banshees live and they do live well), which still possesses some of the remaining standing stones, 1000s of years old. those elected war-funders haven't quite caught on about the distressing shape of the economy, so it is nice to see the grassroots effort to find vitality. or just get fucked again.