Lone Tree

A wind-pruned tree from high on the Blue Ridge Parkway

It’s cooler this morning, and I’m thinking fall. And this image of the lone tree from Rocky Knob suits my thinking purposes. From here, I watched the migration of hawks, and met others there also attending to dragonfly mass-movements–the first I’d heard about that.

This is a vantage point from which to watch the color fill and fade from a million living leaves.

From here on a blustery day, the first distant snow flurries will trail along like gray curtains slanting behind blue-steel clouds over Walker Mountain.

A lone tree in a high place; a rocky crest that weathers the worst the seasons can cast against it: this is the elevated and elevating image I’ll carry with me today in my plodding routine. You’re welcome to borrow it for your thinking purposes as well.

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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. fred….this is one of the best photos i’ve seen in a while. almost surreal….very well done! and i love your thoughts….they weave a little more magic into the story that the photo is telling.

  2. I have a real love of tree photos… especially when they are stripped of leaves. I think they are so unique and give such feeling, from such simplicity comes such complex feelings. Lovely photo. Thank you for sharing.