Driving down the Western Kentucky Parkway, amid the emptiness, one comes upon coal country. Thousands upon thousands of acres have been strip mined. In many places only a thin screen of trees separates the traveler from the devastation. In some places not even that veil exists.
One can sense the destruction in the wetlands that have appeared next to the highway. The mining has changed the natural channels, and water now sits in swamps. You can tell this has happened recently, as the swamps contain the carcases of trees that drowned in the unnatural water.
Yet there is an eery beauty in the desolation. The stumps stand in contemplative groups, like stones in a Japanese Garden. The cattails and other grassy vegetation adds interesting texture and color to the otherwise black water and gray stumps.
Here, I’ve re-created the abstract nature of the scene. A sheet metal wall surrounds the property. Rusting and adding heat on a summer day. Dying trees, nothing but decay. Yet beauty still. Can we reconcile both?