I traveling across West Virginia by a road that once was a main route, but its importance has been replaced by an interstate highway. I like back ways because there are so many sights to see.
Like the two young men on a steep hillside with a grubbing hoe, digging something...what? Sassafras? Mandrake? Old traditions pass down here, and it's not unusual to see people out gathering berries, nuts, roots and wild greens.
Another young man with a tripod and camera was filming Cathedral Falls, one of several waterfalls along my route. Two older men in required black Harley gear pulled up on their motorcycles and walked over to look at the falls too. I wondered if they knew they were blocking the younger man's camera. The young man said nothing, just shifted his tripod further down the footbridge.
A reminder of bad times in the past, and yet today, this is a beautiful restful place. I wonder if the spirits of those dead men haunt this place.
Further down the road, an older man sat on his porch steps working the crossword puzzle in the newspaper while across the way an elderly woman shook a handwoven throw rug over the porch rail. Did she make the rug?
A man at the gas pumps, filling up the tank on his 1992 Chevy pickup with the Vortex engine, told me he bought the truck new, kept it in the garage all these years. He looked ill, pale and tired, but his face lit up as he talked about his truck.
In the front yard of a house trailer was the sign,"LIARS GO TO HELL". Two young women shouted at each other across the road, their anger darkening the sunny day. Who lied? About what? I don't think I really want to know.
A guy on a motorized bicycle was riding down the street of a small mountain town, wearing a WWI helmet.
At a restaurant where we stopped for dinner, a lone older man with a brace on his leg and a cane talked long to the waitress who waited and listened patiently to his story, and I wondered about him, wanted to speak to him but did not. What was his story?
A birthday party with pink balloons at a state park picnic shelter built by the CCC in the 1930's made me smile and I thought those young men who built it would be happy that it was still being used for family events.
Everywhere, people were going about their business while I traveled through and wonder about them, their lives, and the places they live. Some of them may find their way into a story; all of them affected me without them ever knowing I passed by.