Until the end of 2022 there was an abandoned house about two miles north of us in Paupack, PA. It was on the road to Hawley, not far from the old Lake Moc-A-Tek stock car race track that’s now an RV park. It was within striking distance, too, of the Gumble Brothers building supply store that morphed into an icehouse/museum some years ago and is now an axe-throwing emporium.
The house was surprisingly hard to see from the road, partly because it was framed by large trees, partly because it hadn't been occupied for a very long while. Maybe because, intuiting the worst, it didn't want to be seen...
Initially, I didn’t understand what drew me back to the house once I found no one was there. For a time I was shaken by the thought I was making an elaborate series of self-portraits (which may still have been a motive). I gradually realized that the house's prolonged struggle against entropy fascinated me–the unwillingness of the flower garden to stop blooming, the on-its-knees laundry line’s refusal to fall to the ground, the small apple orchard continuing to bear fruit and resisting encroaching brambles.
I’d like that tenacity to be true of me. But it’s certainly emblematic of the toughness and perseverance of this part of the country.
In late summer 2022, bulldozers flattened the house and carted the debris away. Nothing has taken its place. A recent property tax hike is my guess at the cause of death.