I am from a knot of gristle that clings to Route 22, a harsh vein of asphalt splitting the north country like a jagged zipper. Rough cut from rock, this town is as subtle as a fractured jaw. It has eroded generations of men, tough and angular. But they were never tougher than where they chose to plant their feet.
The faces are this place. Taut, lined leather masks, freezer burned, stoic. Chins are anchors, pulling the noses down, past hunched shoulders, to gain meager shelter from the relentless cold. It can be so January here, even in July. Hands jammed into pockets, entire bodies jammed into themselves, they are pistons, mechanical and efficient, blue. The weak are dismissed at the end of the day.
To lift a hand skyward nearly punctures the gray canopy. Steel and white. More water than milk. The men that matter, those with the genetic imprint of this town tattooed on their backs, gouge the earth each morning. They are making slate. Green. Gray. Purple. And black, the most brittle, the heaviest. It fights the diamond saw and chisel, refusing its shape and purpose. But the steel and the men win, eventually. Yet they leave a piece of themselves in an open grave of their own making. This exchange goes unnoticed by all except the maples.
The foundation of this town is more than rock ripped from a million-year hibernation. There’s kindness here, as sweet as a warm apple cider doughnut. There’s ignorance here, spoken by a neighbor who sees black and spews nigger. There’s compassion and hate and patriotism and pride and myopia, and much more. There’s my family. And me.
Granville is an old cane. Sturdy. Timeless. It holds the scent of the stubborn, the crippled, and the valiant. We are a body collective, who wish to walk unaided as long as possible before inheriting the familiar limp.
Home is where I go to remember and forget. Who I am.