In 1930, my greatgrandparents purchased a beautiful farm in Bradford County, PA, in a little hamlet called French Azilum. In the summer, we spent time there, resting, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the wild flowers, the bright stars and planets on a clear moonlit night, and swimming in the Susquehanna River. If gas drilling is allowed to continue, Bradford County and all of Pennsylvania will be forever changed, ruined beyond repair.
Resident of Susquehanna County, saying goodbye to the life she once had on her parents' property and growing up there and now grieving for the coming changes, as Fracking starts next door to her and her family homestead.....
It started with a run. I’m not much of a runner, but in deer season there isn’t much woods walking to be done, and I needed to get outside. I donned my orange vest and started up the same hill that I have been running or walking for 25 years. ...
This time, I passed two gas pads. One has been there for a few years, but the most recent rig was towed away in pieces a few days ago. In better days it was a just a dairy farm and home to my bus driver and township commissioner. Now, periodic methane releases break the silence like a jet engine, sending me running the other way. A coyote darted across the road with the same idea.
The other started as a logging road. Months ago, I stood at the entrance on the edge of our property, holding my breath until a dirty logging truck limped out. My neighbor had never mentioned a surface lease, but the rig came anyway. The drilling was finished about a week ago.
Now I wait, in the space between drilling and fracking; the space between the life and death of our little place in the world. This land was a labor of love for my parents, who personally collected the fieldstones that they used to build our house, stone by stone. Three of our beloved dogs are buried by the pond, and my mother’s spirit still lingers in the garden.
Last week, a reporter asked me what brought me home. In the same way that I would sit at the bedside of a dying loved one, I choose to sit beside my land. If I can't stop it, I want to witness the sad reality. To have closure.
Yesterday, I wandered to the pond, as I often do after a jog. Even though I hate cold water, I realized this might be my last chance to swim here. I ran straight in.