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This is Me

This is me. I'm from a small town on the Iron Range. Chestnut St. is four blocks long, dominated by bars and liquor stores because the unemployed miners needed something to do. Community in Virginia depends on your age. When you're in elementary school, your block is your community. Until you get your license, you're either from Nor-side, Sou-side, Ridgewood, Midway, or Anne's Acres. In highschool, it's which school you go to, be it Virginia, Eveleth-Gilbert, MI-B, Hibbing, Chisholm, Duluth Central, Duluth East, Duluth Marshall, Denfeld, Mesabi East, Cherry, Cotton, Cook, Tower-Soudan... for the same 'region' (tho Duluth isnt really part of the Range) your community in highschool is your school. If you come back from college to settle back on the Range (and not many do) then your community expands once again. Your community is no longer confined to individual towns, it begins to be defined by the whole shared experience of living in the shadow of a manmade mountain, of feeling the mine blasts every day at 12:35, or hearing the incessant whine of OHV's. The fate of the whole area depends on the success of the mines, and that is what brings everyone together. And I am defined by my community. I can't understand how people can live so cramped on top of each other like they do down here. Rush hour? the only 'traffic' I'd ever experienced was the parking lot after a hockey game, or HWY 53 after the Virginia-Hibbing hockey sections championship at the deck. I am defined by the endless red pine forests and the water we can still drink fresh from the ground. Not to say that times aren't rough...but the difference between here and home is that up there, we are -all- affected, we are one community.