I am somewhere in western central Pennsylvania. As I look out the window of the Econoline van in which I am a passenger, I see miles of forest and white snowy ground. The forest looks youngish—50 or so years old. And I wonder if all of this part of Pennsylvania was deforested before. It is a grim landscape, empty of human habitation except for deer blinds dotting the pencil forest. I can’t decide if the grimness is the lack of human touch or the ghost of too much human touch. Too much mining and logging: too much poverty, both natural and human.
The deer blinds speak of, not sport, but necessity. The need to eat during the long winter months. The grinding hardship of not enough.
The possibility inherent the Northeast, where I live, is scrapped here by the absolute necessity of simply existing. The luxury of liberality has not yet made its appearance. This is a land of iron and coal, of solid and heavy values. This is the sea anchor to the East coast’s flights of fancy. The flights of fancy which in turn, lift up the heavy practicality of the Midwest.
And so I realize that we all contribute. We need each other.