While riding around the smoldering embers of collapsed West Virginian coal towns, I felt something like a sadness but that’s not quite the right feeling.
Along back roads tucked in the mountains, I asked many questions of myself, of the universe. I came away with no answers. Only more questions.
I wondered about the lives that lived in broken-down shanties. I wondered what the people sitting on porches in the middle of a Thursday afternoon wondered about. I wondered what people did for work, if they had enough to eat, if they felt limited by their situation or comfortable in all they’ve ever known. I wondered what they would see as luxurious or if they were motivated by material wants. I wondered if the story I’d heard over the weekend about people dishing out frontier justice was true.
It seemed wrong to stop and take photos of derelict homesteads with junk scattered around their yards. The people within were just living their lives and along comes some gawking outsider. It seemed like objectification or judgement. Which, I suppose is true – it was. Though my intention would never be to hurt someone but how could eyeballing someone’s life like that be received as anything but negative? Would I feel the same way snapping a photo of a mansion? My gut says no.
So many questions.
My universe is small. I live a sheltered life. I don’t know how to do anything or work with my hands or build or fix anything. I am coddled by my comfort. I know nothing.
Travel provides a great education and I have much to learn.