A POET AND HIS GARDEN IN THE MOUNTAINS NEAR SUGAR GROVE, WEST VIRGINIA
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The central Appalachians are scored by narrow, verdant river valleys that lend the landscape a wash board character. The valleys sustain the people who inhabit the region and bind them to the geography in a elemental way. They are punctuated at intervals by even more narrow sun-starved hollows that breath cool mountain air unto the lowland in each day's gloaming. As the human population of these mountain valleys reached a high water mark in the fertile decades preceding world war II, the hardiest souls where pushed up into the hollows to scratch out a living in the hardscrabble terrain. For many it was an idyllic life, but not without challenges. When the flood waters retreated, drained by post-war industrialization and the promise of an easier life in the urban centers, the hollows emptied. The picturesque, soon mouldering detritus of mountain life was left behind. Abandoned. Lonesome and haunted. However, in a certain hollow, at the end of Fern Hill Lane on the eastern flank of the region, one of those hardy souls has persevered. He has found deep, authentic purchase in the rocky soils, found a muse in the high ground. This is his place.