Friday, April 11, 2008

This is Home

Tingley Lake in Autumn

This is where I feel most at home. Tingley Lake, north of the tiny village of Harford, in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

Tingley Lake in Winter
I had been coming here since 1950 or so, when my family rented a cottage in the summers. In 1957 my parents bought the cottage and some extra acreage. Until about 1988 I could only visit the place once in a while, and, since winters are long, dreary and bleak in this part of the world, that usually meant only for short stays in the summer.

You can see it from space on Google. It is located at 41.800239 north latitude and 75.723739 west longitude. It looks like this from a little closer to the ground ...

I inherited the place when my father died and have since replaced the cottage. There have been a lot of other changes on the lake in recent years. When I was growing up, all the cottages were just that: summer cottages. Now there are about a dozen year-round homes, and they get grander all the time.

Hallstead and the Great Bend
in the Susquehanna River
I don't live there in the winter, but in nearby Hallstead.

Susquehanna County is mostly rural, and, by many measures, one of the poorest regions in the state. It is part of Appalachia, after all.

The Susquehanna River (seen in the picture) enters the state in Susquehanna County, and then abandons it again for New York State. It reenters Pennsylvania in Bradford County from whence it continues through the center of the state from Wilkes-Barre to Harrisburg.

This is Republican territory, but has a high poverty rate notwithstanding the number of well-off retirees who settle here. My father was born at the county seat of Montrose, a picturesque little Victorian town out in the middle of nowhere.