A loyal Marylander by birth, I transplanted to West Virginia some forty years ago and now proudly claim ‘dual citizenship’. Today, June 20th, 2017, West Virginia celebrates its 154th year as a state. The state flower is the rhododendron, the state bird is the cardinal, the state tree is the sugar maple, the state animal is the black bear and the state fruit is the apple.
Transplanted here with roots that have taken hold,
it wasn’t the apple that tempted me
nor fear of the asp that kept me from it earlier.
It seems like destiny that I should be a West Virginian
at home in the smallest county of the 35th state,
attuned to the harmony of early bird song
and a rising sun
that is sometimes slow to climb over the mountains.
Proud the history and strong the spirit
that forged pathways around and through obstacles
that would have stopped a lesser kind.
I celebrate those native West Virginians
who endured the back break and the heartache
it took to stake a claim to their spot of land
and their way of life.
There is limited space
but they open their arms to all
who understand it is almost heaven here,
especially now when the air is warm
and sweet with orchards
that wear the golden touch of God’s own hand.
West Virginia is not a subsidiary of Virginia,
and Hancock County is not a suburb of Pittsburgh.