Place Where You Live:

Indian Head, Pennsylvania

Sunset Hill

The green hills fold upon themselves like ripples on a wave;
ridges cresting and the hollers
dipping. On the southwestern
edge of the Appalachians the
village of Indian Head stands on
the eastern side of Indian Creek. The village received its name from a rock’s likeness to a Native
American’s head. I have yet to find the “head” and remain unsure of how it would be
differentiated from a European’s
Indian Head consists of : a shuttered diner, an active volunteer fire house, a general
store cum apartment and storage
facility, a church, and bank. There is also a post office where
the old-­‐timers gather on Saturday mornings for gossip and weather predictions. Clapboard homes with yard
signs supporting the latest Republican nominee line the
main road. American flags hang
from peeling front porches while
the Confederate flag makes
appearances on the chrome of
pick-­‐up trucks.
Indian Head was born in modern times thanks to coal, timber, and dairy. All three still
have a presence. Milk cows graze
upon flax studded fields that get
plowed for hay twice in the
summer. Chainsaw noise still
echoes off the shale and limestone
mountains as sugar maples and
white ash fall to the earth for
furniture and baseball bats. Coal
trucks speed by the village on Route 711 foretelling the opening
of a contested mine that threatens the watershed like its
predecessors did.
The town is a gateway for outdoor enthusiasts: kayakers,
white water rafters, bikers, hikers, anglers, skiers, boarders,
and climbers. It is also a town that hunts for morel mushrooms
in the damp soil of spring; for sang in the drying forest of late
summer; for top-­‐heavy whitetail
bucks in the multi-­‐colored fall;
and for the virgin downhill trails
in the winter.
Nestled within the Laurel Highlands, Indian Head remains isolated within hollers and hills. Protected by its hardwoods and flowing streams
the village outlasts all those that
pass it by while it nurtures the
generations that continue to call
it home.