Elkins, West Virginia is a town that has figuratively been squashed flat by the current Deprecession. The downtown area is filled with empty storefronts and absent businesses. There are probably richer, better-kept areas of town but I didn't see them. I left Elkins quickly and went back into the countryside, up into the mountains. As the clouds darkened, I reached Bartow, a tiny but historic village at an old nineteenth-century crossroads. At Bartow was the Hermitage Motel, which was just what I was looking for. I booked two nights there and settled in just before I heard the rumble of distant thunder. I drew the color sketch, and the small brown ink drawing, while sitting in the porch in front of my room. Rain followed.
The field you see in the color sketch is not cultivated in rows; the stripes are the tracks left by a lawnmower. Despite the wet weather I roamed around the motel grounds, enjoying the fresh mountain air. This was the forest refuge I was seeking in my travels, filled with birds and greenery.