The Death and Life of Yellow Creek

In the mountains and hollows of Kentucky coal country, one group of citizens learns what it takes to protect their lives and their land.

On a mild winter morning, Yellow Creek runs caramel brown behind larry and Sheila Wilson’s house, smelling of the earth, pungent and natural. The surface ripples over hidden rocks and breaks into tiiny white caps. From the porch it looks like a gentle wading creek, but as you cross the lawn you find that it is a powerful little river, full of muscle, racing ahead through this flat hollow to the next bend in the wooded mountains that have shaped five decades of Larry’s life. This is the heart of coal country. One small hill has laready been cut down soon. But for now the hollow seems at peace, slumbering in the brown shades of winter. The loud burbling of the creek blankets the yard. a great blue heron flies overhead. The damp air carries an acrid trace of coal smoke from a neighbor’s chimney.