I spend a lot of time thinking about change. Change in this place. Change in the world.
I spend a lot of time trying to make change. Change in this place. Change in the world.
This is a hard distinction to make for some folks, but I don't want to change West Virginia to be the next-wherever-you-think-it-should-be. I have no desire for this place to be the next Colorado. I have no desire for this place to look like northern Virginia, or southwestern Pennsylvania.
I do want to change this place to be the best version of itself that it can be. I want decent internet service, restaurants that pride themselves on making food "from this place", and job opportunities that help serve the people of this place while simultaneously providing opportunity to kids like me, kids who grew up here and desperately want to stay,
This is a fine line for some folks - I have no interest in folks from the DC metro telling me "how much better this place could be" by making it look like DC, and I resent the great teeming masses that seem to be coming out here, a new wave of extractionists, looking to cash in on our culture and our terrain. New strip miners and clear cutters, who won't invest in the people here, they just want to take the little bit we have, without giving back. Throw up some mountain-kitsch, and retire.
I also have no interest in pretending that West Virginia is this little slice of heaven. We are famous for being resistant to change, for being a little bit lost in time - and that isn't always a good thing. I see and hear bigoted racist things from time to time. I see folks that believe that if it's from here it's second class.
Lucky for me, I know better.
Now I just have to figure out how to lose the bad and keep the good. That probably is easier said than done, but I already know one thing - there are a few places better left alone. No cell service. No coffee shops. No chain restaurants. Just stars, and trees, and peace.
Better Left Alone - West Virginia