A Different Kind of Light

The same. But different.

A new filter. A new renewed sense to replace dulled vision, muffled hearing, insipid taste and anesthetized touch. A “separate reality” as Castaneda called this out of the ordinary way of walking in the familiar world. That is what I need right now.

Why? I suppose there are a dozen reasons. I am aware of a few of the guests at my pity party:

The approach of summer lethargy and heat-related discontents.

The sucking vacuum and emptiness where the next writing project–blog, radio essay or newspaper bit–used to incubate.

The slack sails after Land’s Sake and feeling discontent about my part of it, though others appraised my delivery much higher than I did.

And there’s the surly dog (who has, thank God, finally turned the corner and is remembering her domesticated side.)

There is the sorry state of the world of men that make me ashamed to participate in humanity, with no real hope that we’ll ascend above the mud and slime and ever be who and what we might have been. And it really does not matter who wins in November, as they will only be the hood ornament on the CorporNation.

There are the crappy hands, seen in X-ray last week at the orthopedists, pointing to a second and this time dominant hand surgery probably in last September.

Point is, I’ve been inside this fish bowl before, seeing life through a glass, darkly, though never before at 64.

And always, eventually, something new and energizing has come along in years past to pull me back into the land of the enthusiastically living. A new challenge has provided a filter that made the ordinary interesting again.

I’m not waiting for it to find me. I know better than to think the world is going to fall all over itself to lay down a red carpet to success. But I also don’t know how to make such a thing, such a transformation, a rekindling happen.

It’s maybe a worse case of the blahs than most, since it has taken me two weeks to actually even write such garbage down in this journal. And how many times have I started blog posts or Facebook entries, and scrapped them half formed? I mean really, son, who gives a rat’s acetabulum?

So…taking the familiar view in this image, looking from the pasture back towards the barn and the barely visible house, and inverting the image–that was sort of fun.

Time flowed. I sat up a little straighter for a few minutes, while the dog snores on the love seat, the rain beats down on the tin roof, the room is somber in the gloom of thick clouds and showers.

I will relent in my quest for stimulation and do what comes naturally at a moment like this. Move over, pup, I’m coming on board.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. It’s amazing how quickly the lethargy can sneak in, isn’t it? Sometimes I think this crazy internet thing plays a part, because it’s so easy to click…to the next…to the next…until the goals you had to write, or whatever, seem a bit too much like work. However, I’m glad my clicks took me here today. This is a refreshing voice, and a refreshing perspective, and I think I might set this computer aside now and walk out the door with sandals on.


  2. Good Morning Fred,

    A writer friend led me to your site because she knew I’d love your photography of the mountains. (We live in Naples, FL elevation 6 feet.) And I do, but I also admire your humanity and willingness to hang yourself and your dailyness out on the line, flapping in the sunshine or drooping in the rain. We all have cycles of growth and fallowness. Don’t beat yourself up. And don’t overthink your situation. (I’m speaking to my current state of mind as well as yours.) Your next enthusiam will come.

    Best, Marcia

  3. Oh WOW….. this sounds like me. I look at myself in the mirror these mornings and wonder where that creaky old crone came from. I too are writing draft posts and hitting the DELETE key in disgust when I read them. Springtime I like, ditto autumn and winter. Summer, heat and humidity I can do without, the biting bugs I can most certainly do without.

  4. Don’t worry, Fred! Only ~220 days left until the apocalypse, and then none of this will even matter! ;o)

  5. I have an English cousin, who refers to such low moods as having to “haul your spirits out of your boots.” I think that pretty much nails it! The frequent stretches of gray and wet of late do nothing to help either. One thing that works for me is remembering that it is impossible to feel gratitude and self-pity simultaneously. Can’t be done. So mine the trove of things in your life that you love, the things that are working, and watch the spirits rise.