This is the view outside of my kitchen window. I live a simple life in a small home in a tiny hollow outside of Kanawha State Forest in West Virginia. I moved here almost two years ago to help care for my elderly father-in-law. I gave up my home in Ohio, most of my belongings, my community, and my children and grand-children. Thank heavens for the phone and internet; they keep me in touch with that old life.
It’s been hard adjusting to life here. We are thirty minutes from everything. No pizza delivery. No ever driving home without checking the gas tank to make certain you don’t need a filling – because you’re 10 miles from the nearest gas station. There are no straight roads, hence the thirty minutes to anything. Any storm, wind, or heck, a bird landing on a power line can cause a power outage. Cell phones don’t get reception unless you can link a network extender to the internet. Friends, family and service repairmen can’t find us on GPS or Google maps.
I’ve had to learn about well water, septic tanks and generators. I’ve had to learn about the politics of coal.
On the positive side, I have terrific neighbors. And it’s beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. We have two different kinds of owls who sing most evenings. So much birdsong throughout the day that it’s amazing. And I swear the forest sings. We have a frog symphonies in the evenings. I have connected with some people here who truly decorate my life and keep me sane. I am building a life here and I’m working to make it a good life.
So imagine my horror at learning that there is a Mountaintop Removal Stripmine expanding to within 2000 ft of my home. Really, there are no words. I’m numb. I’m furious. I’m grieving. I vacillate between activism and soul-numbing apathy.
I’m going to make it a goal to blog about the journey here. This is just an introduction. I don’t know who will read it. If anyone will care. But I need to document the journey.
So here goes.