A muddy river carrying the bloody sediments of erosion pumps through Petersburg. Oxygen infused pollen from creek bank honeysuckle gives not allergies but cavities to those who have breathed here. Winds in Petersburg on musty summer mornings, stings nostrils with a salty aroma—a slight seasoning fills the air—the exhaust from passing coal locomotives combines with the scent of fields bathed with warm sunshine creating a giant smokehouse of sorts, over the tiny little town. Burnt coal spewed into the morning fog—the volcanoes of man covering everything in and out of sight—and the wind, already bathed with the scent of water carved clay and all that it holds.
The trains roll alongside the banks of the sticky Juniata River—for this is where the tracks were laid long ago—along nature’s already beaten paths. The trains spill by like pepper shakers shaken over mashed potatoes drenched in pan gravy.
The stagnant waters of the Juniata are dotted with millions of tiny, floating islands—clusters of milky bubbles form conglomerates and float as silver dollars in the river along which the humble, working poor reside.
Piss from a thousand spotted black and white cattle—and the brown ones too—all rolling towards the sea—grazing all along where the railroad runs—the map—the river that guides the trains crawls through the woodlands like a caterpillar and the diamond back rattlesnake.
Creekbanks are black—no longer the soft muddy wooded areas found alongside the muddy waterway like it once was in these parts. Tons of coal has fallen from uncovered locomotives that passed through here during the second great Iron Age that took place, a while ago.
Now, after so much time has passed, a large tree remains, roots set directly between the little patch of coal covered land between the river and the railroad tracks—an ancestor of the trees that grew before the railroads and the Great Depression. The teeth of the tree dip directly into the river. It appears from the distance to be a weeping willow, but upon closer examination, the true identity of a native pin oak is revealed.