Aging Gracefully: Old Churches #1

Meh. July. My least favorite month is at least half over. Today will be hottest yet inside the house, because it did not cool down much last night, and we depend on this for conditioning our summer daytime air. And so when morning comes, I fling open front and back door, willing to let a few insects in with the somewhat cooler air. Then I watch the indoor-outdoor thermometer in the kitchen and close windows when it gets as warm outside as in.

Yesterday the house gained heat because Ann put up a canner full of blackberry jam. We will think the temporary suffering worth it come a fall morning,  a loaf of fresh-made bread, and a spoonful of home-made jam.

Speaking of which–I’m assigned the job of getting another quart for a cobbler. I’m on it.

Image: I will have to ask somebody in the historical society to confirm that this church was the one associated with the now quite large Jacksonville Burying Ground up top of the hill above town. I walked past it on my way between Harvey’s where I left my car for brakes, and town, on a very warm walk last week. It was even warmer walking back uphill later in the day. I snagged a shot with the iPhone.

When we moved here in 1997, this church building was the home of Via Electric. The past ten years or so, it sits vacant and in decline–but gracefully so, the rust on the door hardware nicely matched to the dying vines. And way paint disappears from wood can also be kind of artful, don’t you think? I just remembered another church not unlike this, and will find that photo for tomorrow.

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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. I love old doors for some reason. There’s a cool door knob on the door of the old Roberson Mill – it appears to be made out of ceramic. Did you stop and munch in the blackberry patch on the left on your way into town – the one on the embankment?