Monday, July 18, 2005

Up on the Mountain

A ready dispatch from Cumberland

It is not easy to begin a post like this one. I might remind you that I graduated from the University of Michigan in May, and following a whirlwind of last-minute and unconvincing preparations was able to collect the car that had been mysteriously provided for me in a long-stemmed Chelsea barnyard to drive myself one morning to Nashville. Going up the mountain some hour and a half more east, neighbors called in to the short-range FM station in Coalmont to let each other know what they were selling, sharing numbers and the names of hollows where they could come to pick up or trade 1 riding mower (needs a spark plug and exhaust cap but otherwise she's good to go), or another iteration of twenty year-old Dodge and Ford pickups that populate the hills. Here, roots run deep. And that's what we would expect from the oldest mountains in the world, and from a culture that is absent in Americans' memories and known now simply as 'Forgotten Appalachia.' The question was recently asked why there is so much poverty in Grundy County, where Mountain TOP makes its summer home. The answer? Because Grundy County offers nothing for the turbines of the globalized mechanism. It is impossible for the communities on the moutain to stay above water and compete for their revenue-share of commodities and production. Places like the mountain are weeded out early, and left ignored. Grundy County can't sustain itself because it's no longer possible for communities to provide for their own communities. Now, communities must provide for the acceleration of globalized culture and economy.

well, since I began this post weeks ago, I can't possibly finish it while preserving my train of thought. so, death it goes.

Chanson d'installation: Ryan Adams, Sweet Carolina