Darkness and Light, Earth and Sky

Floyd County Farm Scene

More than whiskers on kittens or catching snowflakes on my eyelashes are May days like this one when cloud shadows dip and rise and race away south over parklike pasture. Flicker of light and shadow, warm-coolness, earth and sky–a kaleidoscope of energy and mood, color and composition. And not possible to capture in time and two dimensions, a thousand words much better than a picture of a single instant of a single perfect spring day in Floyd County. Click for larger image, as in a thumbnail of a landscape, so much is lost in translation.

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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 have moments like this, seemingly perfect vignettes, beside Missouri hay fields just after harvest. If I were a painter, they would be my subject.

  2. What a wonderful photograph, Fred! You have captured the feeling of those sun/cloud-shadow days perfectly. I love the way the line of cows follows the line of the hill. How did you get those cows to line up like that? 🙂

    I really love this shot.

  3. Stunning! I thought I was the only person who loved dark, menacing clouds roiling across an emerald green landscape…now if there were only gray stone ruins on the horizon…