Greetings from Western Pennsylvania

The changing of the leaves in old steel country.

Autumn has come and held strong to its weeks-long endeavor here in the big rolling Appalachians of PA.

We’ve had no issue finding absolute peace and solace as we walk beneath massive old cherry and maple trees, the same ones we’ve watched for over a month now turn from a coating of green over the small town we’re occupying to blazing gold and eye piercing red. Purple and orange and yellow and for much of it all, blue skies and that warm early August snap to the air.

The people here seem to be living out of time. In the sense that the homes and stone walls and even many of their thoughts on where the world is at these days seem 30 years ago or so placed in pause. But also in the much more real sense that dilapidation and hard prospects at finding a job that’ll take care of you just as you do right by the endeavors it requests of you, that all seems to be a hard cookie to swallow but one that they’ve been working so diligently chewing at since I was a teenager in these same forests.

Still, it’s home to me. And the trees fill the towns as if the distinction between home and woodland was never a consideration to be taken seriously. Autumn campfires bloom into the night. Many trees begin to look more bare than colorful. The rain eventually comes, and soon it will be time to head south to where my t-shirt will feel wanted again.

But for today, and through Halloween and a night of watching an election like it’s a Sunday afternoon’s worth of football, this place feels perfectly welcoming and like home, a valuable feeling when you tend to spend so much time trying to avoid the concept.