After Rain


Rain. Sunshine. Rain. Sunshine. I’d hoped to find the Virginia Bluebells blooming, water-droplet-covered in the fleeting breaks of sun that taunted me all day yesterday. But even by 10:30, the bluebells were still in the shadow of the ridge.

Instead I walked the logging road that is almost every day a part of our outdoor survey of what’s happening in our little realm. The ground underfoot was a soft sponge, rivulets running under my boots and steam rising where sun shafts struck wet twig, trunk and blade.

Surely I could find something lens-worthy to carry home. But something I don’t already have pictures of, I wondered?

Yes, I have other images of beech leaves, but not these beech leaves, not in this exact light and of this exact composition.

Can one ever have too many similar images? Do I stop thinking about spring, my work, my children because I’ve thought about those things before?

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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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