Middle Finger to the World


Middle Fingers to the World

This rant or reflection or revelation or inquiry, whatever it is, was written a year or so ago. It is unapologetic. I’m not going to spend of lot of time arguing with folks about its content or justifying my feelings. Here it is, and to put it plainly, if you disagree, I don’t give a fuck.

There is a quiet suffering that is meant to come with living in this place of ours. To face hardships and silently endure means strength.


Living here is hard. For a forward-thinking person it often means running uphill from the start. It means finding the small community of other folks thinking about the future and clinging to them. It also means looking for knowledge and education and vision in odd, rough-and-tumble packages where you might not expect it.

The people with innovative ideas here are turkey-whispering hunters and guys who drive old Toyota pick-ups and girls who work on their own cars and people who take the education they are given and do the very best they can with it. Whether that is from their great grand-dad or a super cool unicorn of a teacher they had their sophomore year of high school. You better believe some of the very smartest and most worldly people I know are from deep up some hollow. Don’t fuck with me on that.

I digress, the people here are special. Their wisdom and know-how are some of my very favorite things about this sweet, frustrating, and humble home of mine.

Sam and I did a hike recently in a wildly beautiful spot, the Laurel Fork Wilderness area in the Monongahela National Forest. It was a windy but sunshiny day and most of our conversation covered one issue: why stay? Why stay here in West Virginia when it is such an uphill battle? I am sure the answer to that has nothing to do with our combined stubbornness. But seriously, this place is so pretty and so wild. Its secrets are not given up easily. We travel around West Virginia almost every weekend and we always find new ground. It is usually something ridiculously pretty to boot. So, yes, that is a good reason to stay but that falls into the false romanticized version of this place.

We don’t lie to ourselves. We know what surrounds these pretty gems, it is a lot of backwoods, backwards thinking people. The Dukes of Hazzard aside, we see rebel flags on every backroad we go down. Newsflash: they lost and we sided with the Yanks.

Again, I digress. Moral of this story, how do we move forward? The state has backslid so far there isn’t a whole lot more down we can go.