A Mid-March Day of Firsts

This pup does not mind having her feet wet, but only as high as her ears.

â–¶ First day to not start a fire first thing in the morning, with the hope that by noon, it will be COOLER inside than out.

â–¶ First day to notice the highest maple branches—just a few–are showing red leaf or flower buds. Soon, the hillside will be at least as colorful as the peak of autumn, but with the light shining through translucent leaves the size of mouse ears.

â–¶ First day for Gandy to go–on purpose at least–into the deepest pools with the anticipation of cooling off. And when she comes out, you can almost hear her holler YEEE HAAAAAAA! as she runs slalom between witch-hazel and spicebush copses along the old fieldrock wall that traces the margins of Nameless Creek.

â–¶ First day I worked outside in a short sleeve shirt and thought “these wool socks go upstairs and my tennis socks are coming down!”

â–¶ First day I thought it was time to bring down from the attic the windshield visor to keep the car from getting too hot. Travel with the dog will actually be harder in summer. Winter, I could come back and run the heat a few minutes to buy another hour of mid-day meeting. Doing the same with the air conditioner won’t cut it since the windows will have to stay cracked. But…

â–¶ First day Gandy has CHOSEN to get in her pen (chainlink-enclosed concrete pad that adjoins the shed behind the house.) Tsuga used to love being there where he could see and smell the world so much better than from inside. Gandy is most definitely an OUTSIDE dog, by her preference. So when I leave for my meeting, she goes to her alfresco housing.

â–¶ First day I have completely enjoyed being with the dog, and it seems to be mutual. I’m even okay with her piling up onto “my” love seat for a nap where I hope to be in an hour, after trudging through a bit more of my least favorite warm spring day routine: the preparation of the taxes for Goose Creek Press. Gotta take the bad with the good. Lots of good today. Lots.

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Published by fred

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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4 Comments

  1. My morning was spent in the rocking chair on the back porch listening to the crickets of the night become the birds of the dawn. Dress code…Running shorts and tank top…No shoes (so no socks).

    The weather prognosticators are threatening us with highs in the 80’s all week.

  2. I remember my spring trip in our RV through the Appalachians, with the budding trees creating as many different colors as autumn leaves. They were softer, more pastel, but just as beautiful. I had not noticed this when I was growing up in Tennessee, so it was a total, delightful surprise to me.
    So glad to hear that Gandy is turning in to a total delight!!

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