Land Shark


CandyGram! Pizza!

No. It’s Land Shark. Don’t open the door!

The very large white pine had been leaning since we moved here, lodged in the crotch of another tree thiry feet down the slope. Every year it leaned a little more, until an ice storm the past winter.

We walked down the New Road one February day, and it had snapped, crashing down on a half dozen smaller trees and burying them in sticky green boughs.

My impulse, while clearing away the tops, was to take the trunk out of our way so I could drive down the New Road to the back of the land. She would not have it–at least not until the grand daughters got to see our “land shark.”

So the time, now that I’ve gotten a memento of the fallen fish (with a fake eye added for effect) to fillet the sucker with the chain saw and get its carcass out of our way.

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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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