Coburn

I often go out to Penns Valley for inspiration. The beauty of the landscapes, the history, and strangeness of the place are so ethereal and neat.

Egg Hill Church is a place I love to revisit over and over. It's a semi-abandoned church on the mountain behind Spring Mills with the unfortunate reputation of being haunted by a congregation that was hacked apart by a crazed minister. Never happened. The church was built in 1860 and still has the occasional wedding and annual church service. It's changed a little since we were there last year. They clearcut some of the dead trees surrounding the building, which probably had contributed to some structural damage. I had a nasty surprise when I attempted to unlatch the side window to photograph the interior: several dozen bats had nested on the inside of the shutter, and one fell at my feet in a sleepy stupour. He landed on some soft moss, so I hope he ended up okay. What a rude awakening I gave him. Sorry, Bat.

We drove down the Creek road towards Spring Mills and stopped at a bend to photograph a really lovely tree, then ended up back in Coburn at the tunnel. Some Nebraska Amish had come down there for a hike, so I photographed their buggies. They caught up with us by the bridge and I had a little chat with two of the girls about fishing. They are probably relatives of the people who lived down the lane from us.

I still find a lot of magic in this area and consider myself lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful place and studied its history at the museum my dad used to run. It's not my own history, but the stories are fascinating. I confess a lot of the people get on my nerves, but I appreciate the glacial pace of change there, and the area itself continues to inspire me.