Place Where You Live:

Bergey, Pennsylvania

Bergey dropped off maps in 1960, exists only in the memory of residents over 70, and hides old identities in the buildings still here. In what was a harness and whipmaker’s shop, our neighbors now nurse the eggs of monarch butterflies that they rescue annually from a landscaper’s mower.

To find this location, google the corner of Bergey Road and Old Sumneytown Pike. The latter crosses the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek, where the native Unami Lenape travelled.

Google Vaughn Run and you’ll find the rill along which we live. Its older name, Moyer’s Run, shows up on 19th century deeds. Subdivisions then threatened full use of the owner’s land, so privileges to the water and meadow, etc., had to be spelled out in elaborate rights of way—for themselves and their heirs, etc.

In the hundred-year floodplain, black walnut and redbuds now grow. Trout lilies and black raspberries spread at their bases. And fireflies strobe their love lights on a summer night. But mostly lesser celandine prevails, an invasive yellow mat that we dig out if we have the time each spring. On knees we push back against succession. We hurry to replant with native sedges and Mayapple.

Once I found a Lenape stone knife sticking out of the creek bank.

What a Pennsylvania geology map shows, we can trace here. Miles away and as a fault line on the run. A fracture tracery that’s related to the origins of the Atlantic Ocean. Millions of years ago.

Here our son launched his homemade radio-controlled paddle boat on her maiden voyage. Here a great blue heron fishes sometimes for creek chub.

No much happens. Everything happens. Wind. Ice. Wild anise.

Our aged neighbors get cards from Bergey friends who’ve moved away.

With the window open, we often nudge each other awake if an owl or fox pauses to sing out nearby in the dark. But how to tell someone what we felt in that moment? We hope they hear in our stumbling something resonate and not lost.