April showers bring May Flowers
Recently my good friend Ethan got me back into brewing. Unfortunately, since brewing whiskey is still illegal on such a small scale, we went with the second best drink; cider. Since I work in a Makerspace, I knew I had to come up with a fun label. What would be a fun apple pun/label?
For many of the Pittsburghers reading this, you might be wondering, “but isn’t it pronounced apple-lay-sha?” How you pronounce this mountain range shows a lot about your personal ideology and history.
What’s the unifying story of Appalachia? What common theme can you find time and time again in these mountains? Many people would answer coal. And while that is a big part of the story, Ramp Hollow: the Ordeal of Appalachia by Steve Stoll showcases an even deeper story: one of the privileged taking from everyone else.
In terms of who has privilege, we often base the conversation around skin color and gender, and understandably so. Many people are denied jobs or pay based entirely on race and gender. But privilege can come in many other forms, and although hardships can be different, often they “rhyme.”
How do you picture a librarian? Who I picture is the first librarian I knew. She was an old, small woman who had the biggest smile and warmest eyes. Even though I hated books, and even more reading, whenever I was dragged to the public library by Mom this librarian would give me the space I needed as an introvert. But after 15 or so minutes of me pretending to search for a book, she would walk over with one of those huge books with tons of pictures and short facts (mostly about dinosaurs). I would pour over those books, looking at timelines and how big the teeth were of each dinosaur.
Well...this is awkward...
Months ago I was feeling an itch to get back into the wilderness: away from work, the city, and all of the day to day happenings. While I really love where I am right now in life, I wasn't feeling as connected to the larger ecosystem as I had when I lived on an island or in the mountains. Thus I started to plan a six day solo hike through the Laurel Highlands.
Now I had done a solo hike before: over Easy Pass in Washington State. While the start was anything but easy (basically a straight climb up a mountain) the rest of the four days was a breeze. Thinking that even though this was 70 miles, I felt like I could complete it in six days. A nice pace.
What makes this post awkward is that I had planned on hiking from Sunday, August 12th through Friday, August 17th. Today would mark day three of my hike...so how am I posting this?
This tale is a classic example of how once again, I did not listen to all of nature.
Unlike other mountains I have covered in this series, the complicated history of this mountain shows through before even getting into the post. My intention, as always, is to inspire people to get outside with providing some tidbits to get them excited. With this one, however, I also hope to spark conversation with how our language can be hurtful and oppressive, even with the best intention. Before getting into the history of people, lets dig into what has existed for millions of years; the rocks!