Our drive up to Michigan next week will take us through Western Virginia, and I look forward to some time in the beautiful, terrifying strangeness of the part of the world where we were fortunate to light two years ago. Here’s Greil Marcus describing it (no, I haven’t put Invisible Republic down since the Bob Dylan thing). He started out editing Lester Bangs, you know. Happy summer.
Glimpsed whole and on high, the mountains around Norton, through the Jefferson National Forest, into Daniel Boone country, could make you think nowhere on earth looked any different: they were that implacable. Merely hills on a map – the highest peak in Virginia doesn’t reach six thousand feet – on some days they can seem bigger than anything on Colorado, rising up so suddenly an unwary traveler can find herself staring into the likes of a tornado. From one vantage point, you can see the leavings of strip mining and human devastation of the crudest kind: from another, with no sign of smoke or cut trees, you can see an entire landscape of hideouts, a world will people will never be found if they want it that way; the same view can let you imagine the land was never inhabited, not by Indians and not by Europeans. The huge upsurges of earth and the blue haze around them can seem to say that in some impenetrable way this country can never be claimed, can never be home; the cuckoo flies on for lack of a place to light. “Men can see nothing around them that is not in their own image,” Marx wrote. “Everything speaks to them of themselves.” Here you could look for a lifetime and not see your reflection. Invisible Republic, pp 158-159
Thanks to this guy for image.