Bells of Autumn in the Distance

Worn With Time
Worn With Time

This image (click) of the lovely wear and fade of time will be calendar-coordinated soon, though the greens still dominate–at least from a distance. Up close, hardly a leaf remains unblemished, invaded by tiny colonies of fungus, giving up the greens of chlorophyll to reveal the xanthophylls and carotenes of oranges, reds and yellows underneath.

Soon, those too will fade, and death is brown and gray, the color of mold and decay. Autumn is one of those several times the bell tower plays a special melody; we should take notice. We only get so many performances in a short lifetime, after all.

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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. At 67 years, I liked your reference to the limited number of autumns we have (and I liked your poetic way, too.). I’ve always liked autumn best, because of its mild peacefulness.