The men who owned the mines laid the railroad tracks and when the mines were scoured clean, they took the tracks away again. Reusing the metal was smart, frugal, one supposes. Yet the families that grew up outside the mines and were left behind in ragged mountain towns that soon died could not forgive them. One by one the stores closed. Families moved off in order of resilience and common sense. The romantics were left for last. Then they climbed off the mountain. What had come in by steam was hard to take out in a horse cart. Many signs of a temporary life were abandoned. Any tears to shed have long sense dried.
The trees make no less grand a cathedral in autumn, when the leaves turn holy colors. The spiders and the mice, the rats and the birds are all thankful for the shelter of the empty buildings. When the wind blows, the old sign at the post office creaks. From the train platform, a spring twilight, the sunset reflecting in the window glass looks just a little like home fires burning.