Keeping Watch

image copyright Fred First
I was lost in thought, my hands occupied with gathering the wood I’d just cut for kindling at the top of the drive. The sun was warm, the earth smelled of spring on a January day, altogether a very peaceful and satisfying time on a country afternoon.

And I happened to glance down toward the pasture and found that the dog, too, was lost in revery, even as he surveyed the pasture along Nameless Creek for marauding ground hogs, squirrels or the odd mid-day deer.

I ran inside for the camera, and walked back out nonchalantly, knowing that if Tsuga had any idea he was my intended subject, he would immediately be at my feet, wagging his tail, thinking I wanted to be close. No, my lens focal length is not that short, fella. Go back and sit down facing south, and look casual.

I did have to reposition him (which amazingly he allowed) although I didn’t capture fully the wistfulness and tranquility I first saw, with him sitting there, on guard, in command, and fully at rest and lost in his puppy-thoughts.

Share this with your friends!

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.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I’ve seen the same view, Fred, with our dog. You took a great one. Our English Springer sits in our backyard surveying “her” hill and surroundings. It’s always been a neat scene, but she’d never allow me to actually take it without coming over thinking I’m ready to throw a rock to her. And…there wouldn’t be a famous barn in my picture! LOL!