Sunday was a clear and sunny fall day, and we took a drive east, as far as the Eastern continental divide, which is about an hour away. Last summer, friends had spotted a cemetery on a hill near the Maryland line, just where I have been wondering about some Stalnakers, one in the 1790 Maryland census, and one who owned a farm on Stalnaker Ridge where one of the markers for the Maryland line was. We stopped at Cool Spring on the way and got some apples – Yorks – from the large wooden crates out front, of all kinds of apples from the orchards just over the next mountain. Robert cut one up with his pocket knife and we ate it in the parking lot while admiring the trees on the mountains around.
The cemetery, in Eglon, where the buckwheat flour we get is grown and milled, turned out to be new, but we spotted another older cemetery in the middle of town (two blocks, more or less). Alas, no Stalnakers, and no graves much older than the Civil War. We hadn’t brought lunch, so we went south to Thomas and ate at the Purple Fiddle, which turned out to have free music going on. Nothing like bluegrass with your lunch.
We hadn’t been across 219 to Parsons for a while, so we went back that way, north along the Cheat to St. George, and then across West Virginia 38 to Philippi. Most of the drive is through the Monongahela National Forest. All of West Virginia’s mountains have been clearcut sometime in the last 100 years, and many of them as late as the 60s and 70s, so most of the trees are young (for trees), and the grove on each hillside is a uniform size. I didn’t take any pictures. The experience is four-dimensional and 360 degrees. Photographs can never capture the experience of a curving mountain road through a tunnel of golden sugar maples, falling leaves swirling through the air like rain, the fluttering of silver maples, the shivering of aspens in the sun, or the view from the Allegheny front.