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Atop Pine Mountain

By John Walker

It’s been almost three weeks now, and I still cannot believe I was on the bus. There are questions everyday and pictures to remind me this trip of a lifetime happened. As surreal as it might have seemed, there is no doubt I spent eleven days with thirty-nine of the most amazing people in my generation. They came from all walks of life and headed off in every direction imaginable. For those eleven days we were bound tight, weaving a web of friendship, ideas, and pure energy. And just like energy we could not keep to the confines of one bus but had to expand rapidly like a big bang. Imagine forty shooting stars across the sky going in different directions, each one carrying enough light to change the world.

Here I am on the top of Pine Mountain looking across the valley. The night sky is clear, but no sign of shooting stars. Up here we fight strip mining and help communities affected by it. Up here we watch the tallest mountain in our state being stripped all night and day. The work never stops. Even from across the valley we can hear the bulldozers and the trucks, the roars and groans of heavy machinery blending with the whippoorwills and night critters. The mine’s overhead lights illuminate the distant mountainside while we slowly build up our campfire.

I wonder if they can see our tiny fire. I wonder if they know why we are here. Someone in our circle starts pickin’ at a banjo while others sing. Someone throws another stick on the fire, and a smile creeps onto my face. There is only one song I can think of right now, one I can’t wait to sing with my new friends again someday.

“this little light of mine,…..”


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