An excerpt from my book The Soviet Union and Lincoln County USA which I hope to publish one of these days:
“Jiminy Christmas!” I think I said it out loud. There was a dip in the deer trail, and drops of last night’s rain were sliding off the green canopy. An old log disappearing into its own humus was covered with green moss, thick and wet. Large ferns hung over like fans for the potentates of nature. The soil was black and damp. It was like a piece of the Olympic rain forest. I was pleasantly tired, serene, and happy to be there, to pause and look at my kingdom.
I love walking in the forest. I had practically been born in the woods just up the bank from Coal River. The feeling is deep inside me, a feeling that only death can erase. If I pass the feeling on to my grandchildren, the feeling may go on forever. Dr. Luke Martin recently wrote to me in an email that, “… it is good to share the positive things we feel about each other. Maybe that is eternal life…the love you share leading to love shared with another and another…”
It is that deep feeling—the calm and happiness I feel in the woods—that
makes me sad beyond all words when I have been hiking and come to the top of
a trail and hear the rumble and roar of industrial bedlam and see a mountain is
being blasted away. Giant oaks and hickories, and ferns and moss-covered logs,
will never return. I don’t understand the hunger for money that blunts feeling
for what makes me whisper in awe.