Rural Ruins-crusing along Route 79 at Route 228 near Route 19: The Field

Crushed mailbox

The Road

Stump and ball

Rusted out fridge

Tank of a toilet


Still filled with tools

Kiddie pool and scraps of a tractor

Porch to the house I'm about to enter

December 9, 2012

I saw a cluster of small houses falling apart in the middle of a muddy, clear-cut field. This is near the intersections of routes 228 and 79. I parked the car nearby. From there I walked from one end of the field to the other across the open space to take a personal, private tour of one of those houses.

This part of Pennsylvania feels both foreign and like home. The mud and muck are familiar, the crumbling house is familiar, the grey skies are familiar. It's the unnecessarily large pickup trucks aggressively driven by well-bellied men in camoflauge overalls with their Steelers caps on I just can't relate to, even though I'm related to a good number of them.

Western Pennsylvania believes Jesus saves mens' souls and the Steelers redeem all else. I was raised to be Catholic though that didn't work out. To me now, the truths we held are their wacky superstitions, like things I read in an account of contact with a previously undocumented tribal group.

How strangely they behave! Trading ceases or stops entirely on a Sunday. The inhabitants attend communal religious ceremonies in the morning where they pray in unison for personal forgiveness and collective victory in sport–football matches–in the later afternoon or evening. All other thought falls away in this trance state which they help bring about through a bitter, intoxicating drink they call a King of Beers.

While they're preoccupied, I'll go on with my trespassing.

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