Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Going Across the Mountains: Day 2

 From my journal, May 12, 2012:

It is 6:00 am in Hinton, WV. Birds have been singing for an hour, welcoming a day that has not yet dawned. A train whistle sounds somewhere downriver. Fog blankets the town, hiding the sheltering mountains that slope up and away from the mighty New, Bluestone, and Sandstone rivers.

Out of my window I see the black-and-whites pull in; an officer gets out of one, punches a code and enters the city building. I wonder what mischief occurred in the night or if all was merely routine patrol in this small river town. A car clatters over the brick street; a truck towing a boat heads out, perhaps for a day of fishing. Across the street a Halloween banner hangs on gambrel-roofed house that once sported a two-story front porch. The porch has been replaced by a one-dimensional deck, leaving double doors on the second floor open to nothingness. A knockout red rose blooms wildly in the yard beside a patriotic flag and a mossy cut-stone wall.

On the opposite corner a neatly trimmed hedge edges the street for a short, undefined distance. I wonder who keeps it maintained so squarely because the hedge seems to start and stop with no apparent relevance, but then I see that once it edged the entire corner until a handicapped-accessible curb was built. Poison ivy struggles to take a stand in the hedge but it too is regimentally trimmed to a rigid box shape.

A train's engine rumbles louder and louder; a freight moving through? Where is it going and what is it hauling? Yesterday an Amtrak train passed us like we were sitting still although we were traveling about 60 miles per hour. This train sounds like its load is a heavy one, perhaps coal from the mines not far away. Mines are never far away in southern West Virginia.

Quiet descends when the train has passed. The highway below me, Route 20, is not busy at six o'clock on a Saturday morning. The town still sleeps. I, sitting in the curving bow window on the second floor of the Chestnut Revival Bed and Breakfast, watch the day begin 200 miles from my own bed yet I feel completely at home. Behind me Larry sleeps in the tall four-poster bed with downy blankets drawn to his chin. Floorboards creak with age but not human weight.

I look out at a church steeple, a tall pink brick building with an elevator room jutting from its roof, at Bluestone Tire not yet open for the day's business, and at turn-of-the-twentieth-century brick homes with dark windows. An early walker startles me. She is an elderly woman in tan slacks, white cardigan. She passes quickly, one hand on her hip as if that side is painful and needs the comfort of a touch. Her gray hair disappears around a corner. A truck passes. Larry stirs. Another truck, this one towing a boat, a large pontoon boat the conjures visions of a lazy day of floating on the rivers. Down the street the bright orange-yellow school buses are still. This is a day of rest for them.Yet another truck towing a boat passes, a sleek racing boat. The waters will be busy on this fine day.

The fog lifts slowly and deep green hills emerge, their tops oddly but softly flattened by the still dense fog. Downstairs I hear pots hitting steel stove burners. Breakfast is being prepared. It is time to shower, dress, eat and begin. I see a glimmer of sun escape the hovering fog.



Copyright 2007 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

1 comment:

Nance said...

I did so enjoy this. The rise and fall; the cadence of your morning. The freshening. My entry would be similiar but it would be at the end of the day. I would sit up late, after Larry (or Lanny in my case) has retired. It would be quiet with occasional trucks or cars or trains. I see a glimmer of moon rising avoe the hovering evening mist . . .

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