Narnia Country Morning

Virginia Valley farmland scene / Photography by Fred First

Frustration: frus·tra·tion (fru-stra’-shen) noun:

1. driving west to work watching a spectacular sunrise in your rearview mirror
2. arriving at work as the sky lights up the most beautiful sunrise and not having your camera with you
3. arriving at work just in time for the peak of the surise color, having your camera with you, and being battered by a 50 mph wind and fingers frozen by subzero chill factor to get a shot off before retreating indoors

This is my view from my windshield where I park at work, facing the east horizon of rolling valley farmland. Nevermind that the view just left is of bumper-to-bumper truck traffic on I-81. To the right, the sprawling expanse of Carilion New River Valley Medical Center. This is one of their Narniesque lamps that lights a seldom used paved path along the perimeter of their property.

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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 love it! our state’s school for the deaf and blind is nearby, and it has these old lampposts scattered throughout the campus. i always think of narnia when i’m walking around there.

  2. It was you yourself who convinced me through these pages to never leave the camera when I go to work. That was also one of the main reasons for my switch to digital, no film ruined by the heat of the day.

    This shot is a great example of the photographer’s eye at work. Traffic to the left, building complex to the right…landscape shot ahead. How many people see this view but don’t?

    Good capture…