And Then There Were None

Pasture Play 2The emptiness and silence this morning is oppressive and deafening after having been immersed in other presence longer these past two weeks than at any time for decades.

For all of June, until my mother left yesterday, I’ve been something other than Fred First, Lone Wolf Freelance Treehugger (70%), husband (5%) and bum (25%).

With mom and my daughter and her daughters and husband, I wore so many other hats there for a while, and am hatless suddenly, and a bit lost for what to do with myself. Those times have already drifted off downstream.

The flow of time. I was in mom’s guest room just now, and found a printed copy of a little summer story we put in a frame once to give a friend, who had gained a remission from his cancer. And soon thereafter, he died.

They move downstream so quickly.

And so the old normal has flooded back in, and I’m Fred the lawn and garden tender, the blogger, the occasional photographer, dreamer, wordsmith and human servant of the dog of the house. And life goes on.

That visitation, those old once familiar roles–that was good. But so is this.

To everything there is a season. There is a time to laugh, a time to play, a time to be a grampa. And there is a time to get dirty, sweaty, and worn plumb out fighting back the entropy of relentless vegetation.

I now live in the latter season. I gotta go.

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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 the last scene of the Godfather , Fred, where he is happy to play with his grandson in the tomato patch. Funny how we end up after all that striving isn’t it?

  2. Yes, I think we have all been there. Thrown into the electricity of the personalities of those we love and then being left with the quiet static. Gardening and yardwork have essential medicinal properties.