January 4, 2011

please don't scare the birds

A trapper boy opened and closed the big doors that kept fresh air trapped down in the mine once it was forced there. He sat in the dark unless a cart came through with a light or he could bum a candle somewhere. He went into the hole before down and came out by moonlight. Those birds he sketched on the door were the only ones he'd see on a regular basis. Look, right now this country may be having some hard times, but at least we're not sending kids down to work in a hole in the dark for ten hours a day anymore. It's a start.

West Virginia
1908, photographer Lewis Wickes Hine

7 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

Very wise and very true and that picture is heartbreaking.

rockygrace said...

Too sad.

downtown guy said...

I'd go nuts.

Steph(anie) said...

"That means you."

I love that bit. But I think I would freak the hell out down there.

downtown guy said...

I thought that was funny mostly because people still put up signs like that. How far back does that saying go?

May said...

This picture, those birds, what you wrote- it seems so sad. I bet he wasn't sad though. He was living it so it was just his job, his life. Bored probably, maybe angry and frustrated, but most likely not sad. I wonder how great the night air felt when he was done for the day. I wonder what he did on his days off.

downtown guy said...

True, he's probably sitting there thinking about dinner or whether he'll have time to rub one out later before another cart comes through.