After the Storm


Forest Shadows-One

From my window, the air over the pasture is pale blue with humidity left over from last night’s rain. From the front porch, we hear the creek murmur–weakly, recovering from a month of losing its voice–and from under the maple at the edge of the yard and the forest beyond Nameless creek, the gentle plop-plunk of raindrops falling leaf to leaf to ground.

From deeper in the woods where this picture was taken a few days back, fat raindrops sound as if they were falling on a cardboard box. The broad leaves of Ann’s favorite Frazier Magnolia tree at the edge of the pasture make a sound so distinctive in the aftermath of a storm that my ear knows the species by the sound of rain splatting on its leaves. Larger Image link.

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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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  1. Fred, my husband and I returned this weekend from an anniversary trip to Roanoke. I talked him into heading out to Floyd. How could we be that close and not check out the beautiful scenery?!

    We enjoyed a portion of the Friday night Jamboree at the Country Store and scoured the crowd to see if we could spot you. We actually ended up at the Pavilion behind the Lutheran church for a production of Saving Sunnydale–excellent!

    As far as ‘After the Storm,’ ever since we returned my husband has been working and getting lights back on from the storm in this area. Our anniversary weekend didn’t quite end the way we wanted!

    But…just wanted to say that we enjoyed our brief time in Floyd and can understand why you love the area so much!