The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

April 9, 2007

leaving the Valley

through wyoming exeter forty-fort kingston wilkes-barre towards blakeslee
through and out of Wyoming Valley sped to 300 miles an hour - where i grew
up surrounded by the blue-gray mountains of pennsylvania - you couldn't
see very far in any direction - something like west virginia - you've got
no viewpoint - you're trapped in the Valley - the roads wind long through
it - you leave up and out along the five mile hill - then 19 miles to
blakeslee in the poconos - it's always dark - always raining - there's
coal in the mountains - anthracite - strip-mining but not mountain-topping
- mines were deep and dangerous - the five mile hill was dangerous -
trucks would lose control - crash into wilkes-barre at ninety miles an
hour - plow through houses - taking out everything in their path - for
years they worked at taming the hill - now there are runaway truck roads -
they go on up there - you can usually see tire marks - furrows - nothing
gets down into the town any more - but we're going out of the town and up
the hill - then through the mountains to blakeslee - first through the
Valley past the airport - there were turkey vultures there - the first
i've seen in eastern pennsylvania - the first i've seen in pennsylvania -
they're moving in - on the landing strip - paid no attention to the planes
- down past the dikes around forty-fort - named for the forty settlers who
first arrived - the area has a long history - wars were fought - lot of
people died - the susquehanna's held back by the dikes - floods anyway -
the cemetery - you can just make it out at 300 mph - cemetery lost a lot
of coffins - they floated down the river in 1972 - our house flooded as
well - we saw eleven herons in the area a year ago - the area's aging now
- lots of people left - mainly young people - the mines are closed -
flooded out in 1959 - land subsidance - our house cracked in two - we're
leaving at 300 miles per hour - we're on our way - we're gone -

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