water gap

hand holding up a blue-and-white-glazed shard of pottery against a background of bare trees and a mountain outlined against the blue sky

a cellar hole open
to the sky


Plummer’s Hollow Run empties into the Little Juniata River where it flows through Bald Eagle Ridge at Tyrone — a classic Appalachian water gap. There’s a ghost village there, Upper Tyrone Forge: 200-year-old cellar holes from the charcoal iron era. The last two houses were still standing when my family moved here 50 years ago, when I was five. My brothers and I spent many a happy hour digging for old bottles in the woods.

I wondered about leaving the word “hole” out as not entirely necessary, but whenever I’m unsure about word choice I always default to my ear and my ear said keep it.

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