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    On the Road
    by Jack Kerouac
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    Blue Highways: A Journey into America
    by William Least Heat-Moon

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Blue Highways: Gassaway, West Virginia

Unfolding the Map

At a burger joint in Gassaway, William Least Heat-Moon (LHM) has to listen to a guy's fish stories.  The focus on catfish reminds me of how scary they seem to me.  And I don't even go into the fact that catfish includes a species kind that can kill a human with poison, and the notorious candiru, which has been known to swim into and lodge itself in...well, never mind...just never go swimming where candiru are known to live.  At right is the West Virginia commemorative quarter reverse from Wikimedia Commons.

Book Quote

"As I ate my hamburger, the fellow explained the best means of taking a catfish.  During the long explanation rivaling Izaak Walton's for detail, the man periodically formed a funnel with his index finger and thumb and poured salt into his bottle of Falls City.  'Used to could taste the beer in our country,' he said.  The angling method was this:  first 'bait' a catfish hole with alfalfa and pork fat for three weeks; then, the night before a rain, put a nine-lived Eveready in a sealed Mason jar and lower it into the water to hang just in front of the baited hook.

"'And it works well?' I asked.

"'It works sometimes.'"

Blue Highways: Part 10, Chapter 3

Elk Street in downtown Gassaway, West Virginia. Photo by Tim Kiser and hosted at Wikimedia Commons. Click on photo to go to host site.

Gassaway, West Virginia

Catfish have always frightened me, just a little.

As I related in a previous post, I have always had a slight fear of deep water, especially murky deep water where the bottom cannot be seen.  When I jump off a boat into a lake, for instance, or I am treading water where my feet cannot touch, I get a sense of vertigo.  When I'm swimming or treading water in such situations, I could be just inches from the sand below, or feet, or miles from anything solid.  It is as if I am flying half blind - I can see the sky above, but the earth below is hidden.

When you add the potential for catfish or other forms of life, swimming unseen below, then my hair starts to raise on end.

When I was a child, and we used to drive east from my hometown on a trip to another town or down to the city, we always passed a particular landmark.  My mom grew up in a logging camp in the forest, and the road now passes through Camp 19 at a place called McGuire's Ranch.  There is a pond next to the road that was always known in our family as "Man-Made Lake."  A small stream was dammed there and the pond was used for floating logs.  My mom said that she used to swim there, and when she did, the catfish "tickled" her toes.

As a child, I was fascinated by that story.  Why would catfish tickle her toes?  I thought about her swimming, legs below the surface, and a catfish taking an interest and putting its nose up to her feet.  The picture in my mind made me shiver, and made me vow to never swim in the pond, even if I got a chance.

The fish in the river near our property were always tiny - little minnows and trout a few inches long.  The minnows in our creek would occasionally tickle my toes as they flitted about them while I stood in the river, but that was cute.  A larger fish near my toes would seriously give me a panic.

Later on in my life, I began to hear the legends of the enormous catfish, lurking in the dark waters at the bottom of rivers and lakes.  These tails put the dread in me.  These catfish were always described as being the "size of a Volkswagen" or sometimes "the size of a motor home."  Usually, wherever a dam was located, you'd hear about the huge fish that lay at the base of the dam.  It was usually catfish - bottom feeders, they would grow large on the stuff that came down rivers and got deposited at the dam.  Just as goldfish, if you put them into a larger environment outside of an aquarium, would get really large, so too catfish, it was said, would grow in proportion to their environment.  In New Mexico, I recently heard of an old giant catfish said to be lurking at the base of Elephant Butte dam on the Rio Grande.

My leeriness of catfish didn't stop with my discovery of the sport of "noodling."  Noodling is such a crazy idea to me that I can't believe that anyone ever thought that it would be a good idea.  If you haven't heard of noodling before, I'm not making this up.  Noodling, a popular form of sport fishing especially in the South, consists of finding catfish holes in rivers, and sticking one's arm into the hole until the catfish bites it.  The fisher then engages in a tug of war with the catfish until the catfish is dislodged from its hole and caught.  The fishing can occur in shallow or deep water, and can involve injury since once the catfish bites it latches onto hand, wrist or arm.  People often sustain minor wounds, though some can lose fingers or get infected from the bites.

I've never even developed the taste for catfish on the plate.  I lived in Louisiana for four years and one item found in many restaurants, particularly those that serve Cajun food, is blackened catfish.  However, knowing that catfish are bottom feeders and vacuum up all kinds of things both benign and toxic, I was not really keen for the meal in the first place.  But I tried it to see if I would be pleasantly surprised.  After all, I drink Coke despite the things in it that aren't good for me also.  Yet the fish seemed bland except for the Cajun spices.  It just didn't grab me.

So, from images of huge Volkswagen size behemoths swimming under me in lakes and rising to either "tickle my toes" or actually swallow me whole, to scum-eating bottom feeders, to the object of a sport practiced by people who I think must be slightly deranged to let a catfish bite them by design, I just never warmed up to catfish.

Give me a good salmon any day.  Now that's a fish I can live with!

Musical Interlude

Here's an amazing blues song recorded around 1941 by Robert Petway called Catfish Blues.

If you want a more electric version of the song, listen to Jimi Hendrix' recording:

If you want to know more about Gassaway

Town of Gassaway
Wikipedia: Gassaway

Next up: Valley Fork, Wallback and Left Hand, West Virginia


Blue Highways: Sutton, West Virginia

Unfolding the Map

Another casualty of a changing America in the 1980s, the soda fountain, is the focus of William Least Heat-Moon's (LHM) attention in this post's starting quote from Blue Highways.  In this post, I speculate how my life might have changed had my father realized his dream of owning a soda fountain in my hometown.  To the right is the West Virginia state flower, the Rhododendron maximum.  To find Sutton in the long geographical timeline of our journey, please see the map.

Book Quote

"In the frayed, cluttery hamlet everything - people, streets, buildings - seemed to be nearing an end.  In one old survivor, Elliott's Fountain,...I drank a Hamilton-Beach chocolate milkshake, the kind served alongside the stainless steel mixing cup.

"The owner, Hugh Elliott, laid out a 1910 photograph of the drugstore when you could buy a freshly concocted purge or balm, or a fountain Bromo-Seltzer, or a dulcimer; although the pharmaceuticals were gone, you could still get a Bromo or a dulcimer (next to the Texas Instruments 1025 Memory Calculator)....what had been a spacious room of several bent-steel chairs and tables was now top to bottom with merchandise.  What had been a place of community was now a stuffed retail outlet...

"....A crisp little lavendar-and-lace lady, wearing her expansion-band wristwatch almost to the elbow to keep it in place, sipped a cherry phosphate and pointed out in the photograph the table where her husband - dead these twenty years - had proposed to her.  She said, 'You won't find me at the grave.  Always feel closer to him in here with a phosphate.'"

Blue Highways: Part 10, Chapter 3

Main Street in Sutton, West Virginia. Photo by Tim Kiser and hosted at Wikimedia Commons. Click on photo to go to host site.Sutton, West Virginia

In stopping in Sutton, LHM goes to a soda fountain to have a milkshake, and then uses his experience and the description of a lady enjoying a phosphate drink to again lament a disappearing America.  "What had been a place of community," he writes, "was now a stuffed retail outlet."

One of the stories that I picked up about my father had to do with a soda fountain.  My father's dream was to own a soda fountain in my hometown, in particular a soda fountain called The Green Parrot.  He lost his mother at a young age, and during the Depression he had to work to help support his family.  Along the way one of the skills he picked up was cooking.

World War II broke out in 1941, when my father was 17 years old.  He knew that he would be drafted for the army, and went to talk with the owner of The Green Parrot.  The owner told my father that when he came back from the war, if he had the money he could buy the fountain.  My father went off to war and served in the Pacific, eventually rising to the rank of master sergeant.  He served mostly on the island of Saipan, where his skills were put to work when he was given the duty of organizing and managing the mess halls.  He dutifully sent portions of his pay back to his father at home, and had told his father to put the money into savings so that he could buy The Green Parrot.

When my father came home, he asked his father for the money so that he could make the offer for the soda fountain.  His father told him the money had been put into a different investment, a 13 acre piece of property in the Irmulco Valley, about 25 miles distant.  Gone was his dream of owning The Green Parrot.

You have read of much of the rest of the story in Littourati.  My father went to work at the lumber mill, the main employer in my town, where he worked the rest of his life.  He was unhappy and unfulfilled.  He was a longtime alcoholic and may have abused Valium.  He may have had depression.  He was the anchor of dysfunction in my dysfunctional family.  He sexually abused me, and to this day my family still deals with the legacy of his unhappiness.

But I'm not writing this to demonize my father or my family.  Instead I'm writing this to speculate what might have been.  What might have happened had that money been available to my father when he came home from the war?  Would my father have been happy as a small business owner.

Would The Green Parrot have been my place of employment?  Would I have developed a community there among the people who came in - the young, the old, the regulars, the out-of-towners?  What effects might they have had on my life, outlook and aspirations?  Would I have learned skills that would have had effects on my life?  Would I have gotten to know a girl, fallen in love and stayed in Fort Bragg?  Would I have taken over The Green Parrot after my father retired, and would I have attempted to keep it alive through lean times until fountains became retro and cool again?

Most importantly, would being a visible business-owning member of the community have made my father a different man?  Would he have been more satisfied with his life being in control of his own destiny?  Would his marriage and family have been successful?  Would my family have been spared the pain of dysfunction, and would I have been spared the horrors of abuse?  And would our constant exposure to the community in a type of place that, at their height, fostered community and caring in small towns, have served as a check against dark activities behind closed doors?

These are all just speculations. and I suspect that the my father's problems were deeper than a change of employment could address.  The fact is that my father's life is what it was, and mine has been what it is.  I have weathered the pain and horror of my family's problems, though I still have to deal with it sometimes.  I have made my life into what it is which, like everyone else's, has been full of a lot of joys and opportunities along with some occasional setbacks, mostly of my own doing.

But when I think of how I did it, it was a lot of my own effort and in a feeling of isolation.  Of course, there were people who helped me along the way and I am very thankful for them.  However, at that time in the United States the concept of community was stronger than it seems to be now.  People looked out for each other.  My father's isolation took us out of a wider community, and the inability of my immediate and extended family to confront the problems within it made our problems worse.  An extended community doesn't mean that all problems are immediately solved, but makes it more possible that difficulties and hardships affecting some of its members will be recognized and addressed.

Now, many of these establishments that encouraged community - the soda fountain, the neighborhood bar, the diner, the small markets and pharmacies, and the fraternal organizations have given way to chain restaurants, loud taverns where speaking is impossible, material goods are placed front and center over opportunities to mingle, and the world-wide web and social networks have replaced communal organizations.  With these advances have also come reversals.  I believe that there is more isolation, more discord and less opportunity to come to agreement.  We see it on local levels in anger that boils over into violence, and on the national level in a polarized government.

And to be realistic, the world wouldn't have changed much had my father been able to buy a soda fountain in the 1940s.  My world might have been better or worse, depending on unforeseen factors.  But our country is always worse for a loss of community.  It's telling that the lady in quote feels closer to her dead husband in the soda fountain, where the memories of her interactions with him and others in the community are strongest, than at his grave.  I hope that the real sense of community that made America so strong and vital aren't someday marked on a symbolic gravestone with "Here lies America's community spirit, killed by modernity and progress."

Musical Interlude

Perhaps I might paint a soda fountain too optimistically, but it's hard not to get into the infectious spirit with Glenn Miller and the Modernaires making it look so fun!


If you want to know more about Sutton

Braxton County News (newspaper)
Photo of sign at Elliot's Fountain
Town of Sutton
Wikipedia: Braxton County, West Virginia
Wikipedia: Sutton

Next up: Gassaway, West Virginia


Littourati News: Maps of Neil Gaiman's American Gods

Every so often I run across geographical maps of literature.  I recently read Neil Gaiman's American Gods and thought it might make an interesting Littourati topic, perhaps after I finish Blue Highways in the very near future.  In doing some possible advance work on locating some of the place names, I came across Renata Sancken's geographical mapping of Gaiman's book.  The fact that she has done it already wouldn't deter me from mapping it myself because, if you've read Littourati, my projects aren't just about the mapping of literature, but also the geography of my own thoughts and feelings as I read the literature.  I think that Ms. Sancken has made an impressive effort to map American Gods despite the fact that Gaiman intentionally obscured some of the locations in his book, and thought I'd share it with you.

Click here to see Renata Sancken's Only the Gods are Real: A Tribute to Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

Michael Hess


Blue Highways: Buckhannon, West Virginia

Unfolding the Map

This post is garbage!  Or, more accurately, it's about garbage.  I hope you don't think it is garbage!  As William Least Heat-Moon (LHM) makes his way back toward the end of his journey, he passes through Buckhannon and notices all the rusting cars and appliances in yards.  It got me thinking about garbage in my life.  What is garbage?  How do we know it?  I don't say I have any answers, but reflections.  If you want to know where Buckhannon is located, this virtual map won't clutter your house!

Book Quote

"At Buckhannon, I drove southwest on state 4.  Beautiful country despite hills clobbered with broken appliances and automobile fragments, which children turned into Jungle gyms.  Should you ever go looking for some of the six hundred million tons of ferrous scrap rusting away in America, start with West Virginia."

Blue Highways: Part 10, Chapter 3

East Main Street in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Photo by Tim Kiser and hosted at Wikimedia Commons. Click on photo to go to host site.

Buckhannon, West Virginia

This morning I had just sat down to eat breakfast, drink my cup of morning tea (Darjeeling) and read the paper when my wife said "Oh, today's garbage day."  That meant that I had to trundle myself up, gather up the garbage from the kitchen and two bathrooms, drag it out to the trash can and wheel it out to the street, along with the recycling.  Only after that could I sit down and enjoy my oatmeal and tea.

I write about that humdrum little detail because like most Americans, I have a complicated relationship with garbage.  This relationship includes not only making sure that I have the garbage at the curb every Wednesday for the trucks to pick up, but also deciding what is garbage as opposed to things I want to keep.  In my relationships with other people, I've found that garbage is a very subjective term.

We all know garbage, for the most part, when we see it.  Wrappers discarded on the street are a good example of something we might label as garbage.  Stuff that smells is garbage, such as old or spoiled food.  But occasionally, we see something that someone has set on the curb as garbage and find it desirable.  As a college student needing a couch for his dorm room, when I saw a halfway decent one sitting out on a curb, I took it.  Lamps, old televisions or computers, things that in our increasingly throwaway society people discard because it is easier to buy something new than fix the old, often are put out as garbage by some but then taken by others.

Sometimes, things we have that we consider beautiful are considered garbage by others.  I don't know how many times I've been in houses that have what I consider hideous art on the walls.  Why would anyone buy that, I wonder?  What I think would look better adorning a trash can than someone's home might well have special meaning to the person who owns it.

My uncle, a hoarder, gave me a new insight into the junk versus treasure conundrum.  He collected things that he thought would be valuable someday.  His house was literally untidy pathways between piles of stuff.  Most of it was trash.  He collected newspapers because he thought the headlines would be worth something someday.  He collected cheap memorabilia for the same reason.  He had piles of books, usually bad novels or biographies.  I suppose that he thought that someday some of these cheap things would not be readily available, leaving him the sole proprietor of a moment of time and history that people would want to reconnect with, and would want to pay lots of money for that experience.

I'm not saying that he didn't have valuable things.  He had a practically priceless collection of vintage, excellent condition 78 RPM records comprising classical, jazz and pop music dating from the early 1900s up through the 1940s and 50s (someone actually put some on the web, that you can see here).  I desperately wanted to own this collection and make it available to others, but unfortunately he didn't leave the records to me and the family of his surviving brother (my other uncle) took possession of them on my uncle's death.  I can only hope that they made their way into the hands of collectors who will appreciate them, or to a museum or some music foundation that will preserve them, rather than getting thrown in the trash.  He also had some collectible baseball action figures from the 1960s and 70s that were still in their original packaging that might be worth something someday.

My uncle helped me understand the mentality of a next-door neighbor, many miles and many years later.  This neighbor was gay, but in appearances was the antithesis of the stereotypes of gay men.  He dressed like a slob, and lived in a house that was eventually condemned for code violations.  He had been the owner, with a life partner, of an antique store.  When his partner died of AIDS, he closed the store and brought all of the stuff home. Some of it was very nice, such as costume jewelry, vintage clothing, and other material antiques that might fetch a bit money if sold.  Yet it was piled all around his place - with trails between the piles - and not put to any use whatsoever.  Eventually, the city condemned his house and bulldozed it.  My neighbor had managed to liberate most of his stuff from the home, and went to live elsewhere - hopefully somewhere in the country - where he could keep his stuff with less attention from authorities.  What became an empty lot was eventually sold to an Asian immigrant, who built a house that he rents to a Navajo family.

My own house is filling up with stuff.  I'm not a hoarder, but trying to decide what is garbage and what isn't is difficult.  Most of the stuff I have has a memory attached to it that for some reason I am reluctant to part with.  It keeps accumulating, making keeping an uncluttered house difficult.  But I have trouble classifying it as either garbage or someone else's treasure.

In the country, one can drive in rural areas and see rusting hulks of autos, trucks, buses and tractors sitting out in yards on blocks, weeds growing up through the engine, and missing windows because they have been busted in by mischievious kids or elements.  Appliances also sit rusting, unused and unwanted.  Most people associate this type of yard with a "trashy" element.  After all, how can someone not care about the appearance of their home with all that trash around it?  Yet, if you talk to people, you'll find that often they scavenge these items for parts.  That's what I suspect that people in West Virginia, with "some of the six hundred million tons of ferrous scrap rusting away in America," are doing with it.

Lately, trash is making a comeback in the form of "found art."  Enterprising artists take bottlecaps, sea glass, old dominoes and ScrabbleTM tiles, old photos, broken ceramic and crockery, and dated magazine pages and turn them into jewelry or put them into other types of art.  I have bought my wife brightly colored jewelry made in Africa from tightly rolled magazine pages.  I have seen handbags woven from the straps of old seatbeltsDiscarded wire is used to make brightly colored baskets.  I've always heard that "one man's trash is another man's treasure," and these found art objects are making a believer out of me.

I believe that if I see garbage in my life, that's what it is.  If something is cluttering your life, or smelling bad, and hampering your style or causing anxiety, then get rid of it.  Perhaps it's time for me to loosen my bonds to my accumulating stuff, let it go, and hope that my treasure can also be someone else's treasure too.

Musical Interlude

Oscar the Grouch of Sesame Street is the world's foremost lover and proponent of trash.  In this video, called I Love Trash, he sings the praises of garbage.

If you want to know more about Buckhannon

Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce
City of Buckhannon
The Record Delta (newspaper)
Smithsonian Magazine: Buckhannon: The Perfect Birthplace
Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Wikipedia: Buckhannon

Next up: Sutton, West Virginia


Blue Highways: Judy Gap, Seneca Rocks and Elkins, West Virginia

Unfolding the Map

Twisty and spine-wrenching roads can often lead to interesting places.  What begins, in this post, as a reflection on winding roads at home leads to the realization and exploration of how two places can engender a feeling of connection and comfort.  All this takes place in the winding mountain roads of West Virginia.  (Note: William Least Heat-Moon (LHM) refers to "Mouth of Seneca" in his quote.  However, the town has since renamed itself "Seneca Rocks," and I use their current name throughout this post.)

Book Quote

"The road, a thing to wrench an eel's spine, went at the mountains in all the ways: up, down, around, over, through, under, between.  I've heard - who knows the truth - that if you rolled West Virginia out like a flapjack, it would be as large as Texas.  Where possible in the mountainous interruptions, towns opened briefly: Judy Gap, Mouth of Seneca, Elkins."

Blue Highways: Part 10, Chapter 3

Seneca Rocks, the geological formation for which the town (formerly Mouth of Seneca) is named. Photo by Aneta Kaluzna and hosted at Wikimedia Commons. Click on photo to go to host page.

Judy Gap, Seneca Rocks and Elkins, West Virginia

I grew up in a small Northern California town, and the only way in and out of town is by one of three highways.  Either one drives Highway 20 from Willits over to my hometown of Fort Bragg, or drives Highway 128 from Cloverdale to the mouth of the Navarro River, and then north on Highway 1.  The other access into town was one we never took because we rarely went north.  That route comes south from Highway 101 at Leggett down Highway 1.

These roads run through the Coast Range and therefore, like LHM describes, are enough to "wrench an eel's spine."  Curves, and switchbacks.  Horrible drop-offs into valleys, rivers or oceans.  Rarely can one get enough speed to reach 50 miles per hour safely except on the occasional straight stretch that might run for a quarter mile or so.  While only 35 miles, it could easily take 45 minutes to an hour to traverse the distance between Willits and Fort Bragg.  Highway 128 was about 75 miles from Cloverdale to the coast, but the 35 mile stretch between Cloverdale and Boonville is one of the worst stretches of twisty road I've ever driven, until it flattens and becomes more straight in the Anderson Valley and along the Navarro River.

When I visited Appalachian Kentucky for the first time in my mid-twenties, and drove through the mountains of West Virginia in my late twenties and early thirties, I felt like I was home.  The roads twist and turn and often reminded me of stretches along Highways 20 and 128.  The sheer drop offs over valleys, like that of the New River, and the way that the curves stretch short distances into driving odysseys, made driving those areas an exercise in the awakening of memory.  Had I grown up in Appalachia I most likely would have gotten car sick fairly regularly in the first few years of my life, just like I experienced in my youth in Northern California.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that my biological mother's family was from a mountainous area of West Virginia!  I was recently talking to someone who posed the theory that we are a product of the places where we were raised, and that our connection to place might even be lodged in our genetic material.  Given the feeling of comfort that I had when in Appalachia, particularly in the pace of life, the people, the mountains and the natural beauty, I can almost believe in a genetic attachment.  How could I have felt so much at home there if some kind of genetic connection had not been passed through generations to my biological mother and then to me?

You may disagree, Littourati.  The similarity of the area may only have awakened deep-seated longings for home.  The mountains may have simply reminded me of the mountains surrounding my home town.  The way of life in rural areas may not be much different regardless of the region or area, and the people may have similar ways of looking at things.  I grew up in a blue-collar town, and a lot of Appalachian towns are mining towns and therefore blue-collar also.  Blue-collar people simply have a similar outlook on life regardless of where they are.

And you might be right.  But whether it is a genetic connection, or just reminders of home, I felt something driving through those mountains.  That feeling of home, whether I am in Northern California or 3,000 miles away in West Virginia, taught me that I never have to be homesick if I don't wish to.  Each time I am by an ocean, or even a large lake, I can find things that remind me of my beloved Pacific.  I was especially surprised to find such similarities once while driving along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.  Whenever I am in mountains, memories of my youth come flooding back, and I am always ready to explore a gulch, valley or holler, and to sit and dip my toes in a creek, stream or river.  The vegetation and animal life may be a little different, but I find that my connection always has to do with the feeling of the place, not the specifics.

I remember that my wife and I went to visit some friends in Hazard, Kentucky before we were married.  It was a late afternoon and I was sitting on a porch of a house that looked very much like the cabin where I spent my summers in my youth.  I used to sit on the deck by our cabin in the late afternoon, listening to the ball game or maybe the lonely wail of the approaching train from Willits.  The sun, as it lowered in the sky, shone through the leaves of the oak trees that bordered our deck.  The light diffusing through the leaves gave them a brilliant green hue that often struck me dumb with amazement.  I also remember the scent of the afternoon forest, the music of the river over its rocks, the soft rustle of the leaves as they in a late afternoon breeze, and the sound of insects that pervaded throughout.  My father, often very Buddha-like as he sat in shorts, bare-chested, with me on the deck sometimes would say "Listen, Michael.  Listen to the trees.  They are telling you something, if you just listen."  On that day in Hazard, Kentucky, in the late afternoon, I had the same kind of feeling and I smelled a similar scent in the forest.  The breeze through the trees, and the sun shining through the leaves, was very similar to that of home.  Even the insects seemed to sing the same song.

I told my friends to be quiet, and listen to what the trees were saying.  They thought it was weird, and soon went back to chatting.  I just smiled, and enjoyed a warm and familiar feeling, because I knew what the trees were saying...

Peace, they rustled, as the sun slowly sank behind the mountains.

Musical Interlude

I always liked this song, Peaceful Easy Feeling by The Eagles, though the subject of the lyrics is a little off the topic of the post.  I used to imagine lying with a girl under those same trees I described, in the afternoon sun, looking up at the brilliant green leaves offsetting with the brilliant blue sky, amid the dappling of shadows and sunlight on the ground.  I thought that there could be nothing more romantic.

If you want to know more about Judy Gap, Mouth of Seneca and Elkins

City of Elkins
e-WV: Judy Gap
The InterMountain (Elkins newspaper)
Virginia Wind: Seneca Rocks
Wikipedia: Elkins
Wikipedia: Judy Gap
Wikipedia: Seneca Rocks (geological formation)
Wikipedia: Seneca Rocks (town

Next up: Buckhannon, West Virginia