A Home town Feeling
By Keith Sweeney
A river cuts through , by a small town park where a little league game is tied at the bottom of the sixth. It then slides itself under the rusty limbs of a railroad bridge, that casts it’s long shadows onto it’s lazy currents. To the east a towering hillside displaying it’s prominent colors in early autumn. This is where I sit in the shade of an old oak which seems to stand as proud as any other facing the river. The scenery plays itself out in front of me as actors do on stage. I sit with a mesmerizing stare, and a silent tongue; in marvel of the time worn beauty.
Central Pennsylvania, flat farmland quilted with patches of hardwoods sewn together with the Susquehanna river threading itself through valleys and low lying plains. To the north, vast forests that spread themselves down a mountain side and up another. To the east the Pocono mountains demanding a high ranking in Pennsylvania’s beauty. Scorn hillsides laced with industrial artifacts of the coal mine era to the south, and around yonder the Allegany’s rise as gate keepers for where the sun goes at night. Sitting there in trance I thought of what all this place has given me.
As a child I played in darkened hollows and sun filled meadows. I turned water worn rocks over in the backyard creek in search of gold. I chased rainbows and ran neighborhood girls out of tree houses. I remember building the biggest igloo ever known to man. Climbing higher that any other man on earth in the maple tree behind our house, or at least higher than my brother! In contradiction to the local old men every year, I always remember having all four seasons, and each leaving at least one scar for me to remember them by. The summers were always warm, the winter’s always cold. Spring and Autumn always let you know what was coming and what was leaving. As the seasons turned so did everything else. Small towns change as they grow just as any person does with age. Hardware stores, the butcher, family owned gas stations, and general stores have all come and gone in my town. Each has a reason for shutting their doors and to each we bid a nervous farewell.
From where I sit. Whether it be present day, Past or future, one will be able look down and see a river, a town, a valley and many lives rich with history and a promise of a future. I have walked a thousand miles or more on this land. The dirt sometimes felt fresh, like after a warm spring shower. Sometimes it felt as worn as the path the cows took to the milk parlor twice a day, But never has the dirt drug into our home from my feet ever felt out of place.