|EARTH DAY In 2019, there is a major roll-back of protections for the mountains, the water and the air, including our national parks and lands, widely supported by political partisans, extractive corporations and citizens, to "make America great again," this time around on helping unemployed miners and returning the industry to its former glory.|
Mountains "The palaces of nature" - Lord Byron
(Hur Herald Photo)
By Bob Weaver 2010
It has always been a defining moment, reclining on my sleeping bag and staring at the
night sky on Spruce Knob Mountain.
It's an awesome, undisturbed view from our state's
highest summit at 4861'.
The ever whispering wind across the stone tower's 360 degree view allows for
contemplation about this dot on earth and our relationship to the vast, unexplained
I have been coming to this mountain and the Mon Forest for 50 years, since my dad and
mom brought me along on a camping trip when I was in the seventh grade.
I have gone to the taller mountains with groups of folks, some being newcomers.
The last visit we had two nights of crystal clarity, the midnight sky during the early morning
hours before daybreak, never better.
Those having never been to the West Virginia
mountains, growing up in the luminescence of city lights, gasped at the dozens of
shooting stars, marveled at the milky way and reveled at the vastness of our
Our mountains have been called the meeting place of the winds by Native Americans,
and on Spruce the weather churns from misty rain to dense fog, winds whipping to
100 miles per hour, pounding rain to deep snow drifts, bone chilling temperatures or
brilliant sun-lit views of distant landscapes.
The huckleberry vines and mountain laurel grow beneath the one-sided spruce trees
that have been shaped by the winds. Beyond the daunting universal sky at night, the
quilt-work view of pastures, forested ridges, farms and meadows - it all brings a sense
of peace and order to the mind.
Thousands of streams, trickling and cascading, their crystal-clear water to be taken by mouth for those who can flatten themselves for supping.
A short distance from the knob you can find adventuresome caves like Sinks of
Gandy, through which I have traveled several times. Most of our group trekked
through the raw cavern last week, cut through the mountain by Gandy Creek.
Shoulder-high water, sandy beaches, small lakes, rock climbs and slippery
mud slides provided challenges, but the sunlight on the reflecting pool at the end of
the tunnel was worth the trip.
The mountains, a place to feel the power of nature in all the seasons.
We mere humans, who on most days march around and pretend to be the highest
authority, can quickly be put in our place by such visits.
Surely we are disturbed when our pristine peaks are scrapped away by mountaintop
removal for coal and our clear streams are filled with debris and pollution, but our leaders long ago sold their souls to King Coal.
There are those who are committing crimes against our people and crimes against nature, but most of us stand silent.
Mortals less than King Coal would be held accountable for such action.
If we turn our heads on such ventures and decline to find better sources of energy, we have surely lost the
stewardship cast upon us by the Creator.
Some have conflicts with environmentalists,
a name that has been demonetized, but I have always thought of myself as a conservationist, having had a spiritual change in the 1960s after reviewing what out-of-state extractors did, they came, they took and here we are, one America's poorest states.
We might give a moment of thanks to those who fight to protect the
balance of nature and all creation.
It belongs to that Great Power from the beginning, who has gifted it to us.
Without care, it quickly sours and could even end.