Facing Downstream

At the Threshold
At the Threshold

One of the things I hope to reflect on in this would-be third book (that I sometimes think about and less often actually add material to) is the topic of aging, from a personal point of view of course.

I took this image yesterday of Ann at the crossing, following the waters of Nameless Creek as it flows away towards an unseen destination. This might become a possible image for use if one of those passages on growing old and moving on would benefit from a symbolic visual.

You can’t really tell it very well in the small image here, but there is a dividing line between sharp and clear in the foreground and wavy-diffuse, not-quite-real and flowing (via Photoshop edits) seen in the early morning foliage and the water downstream beyond Ann’s boots. Hence, the “threshold.”

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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. A beautiful and apt image for a book on aging. It’s very inspiring, and suggests that, while aging can be challenging, older people can try anything…at least that’s what it looks like to me!

  2. Reminds me of one of our favorite verses in all of “hymnody”. One of those things that make all the efforts of church going worthwhile. Bob Dylan could have written it!

    Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
    Bears all who breathe away;
    They fly, forgotten, as a dream
    Dies at the op’ning day.

  3. I’m glad you pointed out what you did with Photoshop. I read your blog in an e-mail on my iPad, and I would not have noticed otherwise. I like it!

  4. I don’t swap heads or other cheesy stuff w Photoshop, but do use it to help me tell the story an image holds–or could tell better with altered visual expression in some light-handed way. So for me, a photograph is more than just what the eye records. Some pros think this amounts to amateurish cheating. I disagree. But there is a point at which you can over-tweak so an image evokes more repulsion than attraction to the viewer.

  5. As I trudge along on recovery from cancer surgery and chemo, I have an clear image of myself that is much like your remarkable image, and it cheers me. I have the feeling that I will be coming back to look at this one often.