Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ruffled Hawk on Town Hill.

Crossing Town Hill in a late Fall storm; sleet, snow and fog. I left Baltimore under a tornado watch.  Town Hill marks the pass where I-70 crosses the Appalachians out of the panhandle of Maryland. Last night, I came through here in the dark and fog. This morning, in the breaks between clouds, I catch glimpses of ancient farmsteads and backwoods mobile homes. Surveying the scene from an impossibly thin branch, waiting out the storm and hanging on for dear life, is a ruffled old hawk.

The perfectly solid Americana of old fieldstone farmhouses and verdant pastures contrasts the obvious, even vain, temporary nature of the trailers with their store bought waferboard sheds.
Some of the picturesques farms have been recently built in the style, but many are, perchance, older than this country. When did we switch from 'built to last' to 'just good enough?' Did we make a concious choice or did we just get lazy? Is there a difference?

These old farms were built in tune with nature and their surroundings. They take advantage of prevailing winds and Summer shade.  It was considered; thought through. 235+ years later, many are still here. They sit in meadows of little valleys, on the South facing slope. Little pastures are borderd by low stone walls or thin rows of trees. You could set George Washington's bones on this ridge and he might still recognize the place.

There are many ghosts out East where history hangs over the hills like chimney smoke on humid, late Fall day. Just above a rock outcropping, back by the treeline, a flicker of motion catches the eye. This time its not a ghost, just a loose board pulling free from an old shed. The lot was hurriedly scratched out of the hillside where the land was cheap. The house is out in the open, right where the truck left it. Now the people are gone too. It might be abandoned or they might all just be at work.

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   from my Droid
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