Please! Send the Dove, Already!

SunnyRidge FLoyd Co VA

That blue stuff in this picture [click to enlarge] is called SKY. Some of you in southwest Virginia might remember having seen this once before the Great Flood descended upon us.

While we only had 2.5 inches of rain yesterday (not that we needed a few more inches in what could become a record JUNE), it came in spurts. One of those did more damage to our gravel drive than any in years past. And there was a good bit of water that thought the road bed was Goose Creek proper.

The creeks had time to empty some between torrential downpours.

But by the time I was coming home from Floyd and Ann from work around 8:00, it was soft soil that made for a long road home. I’d joked with somebody earlier that I intended to take my chain saw to town with me. If only it had not been a joke.

I got as far as Batman Thumper (yes, that is the name on the county road sign) and met a fallen Tree of Heaven. Thankfully, someone had placed a flare a few hundred yards before the bend around which this large tree had blocked the road. So I jeejawed my way, forward, backward, forward, and got the car turned around, and set off for an unwelcomed detour after an intense two hour committee meeting in which I had to take official notes.

Alternate route: Spanglers Mill to 221. Now, how to avoid possible flooded roads: Stonewall has fewer creek crossings, I cleverly figured out, and headed that way. Dope slap: road still closed for month-long bridge repair. U-turn #2, back to Bethlehem Church–another extra eight miles in a blowing heavy mist.

Ah, the Slow Road Home at last. A mile in, a medium-sized hemlock, up by the roots, full across the single lane road.

I reconned with umbrella and flashlight, finding a possible jeejaw place 100 yards of reverse gear back toward the hard top, at a place situated so that “too far” towards the creek would have my front bumper against a tree, and not wheels over the precipice.

This sortee, including the long way around, will add another 10 miles to the usual total of 16 town-to-home. But here comes headlights. I’ll tell them the road is blocked.

It was VDOT. They had a chain saw. I turned BACK around, followed them to the blowdown, and got home after an hour and a quarter. Called wife, told her it was clear to come on. And there’s yet another day on Goose Creek.

The cost of doing business.

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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 am glad both you and Ann made it home safe! We are finally getting a bit of much needed rain. I awoke to the soft pitter-patter of raindrops on the rooftop this morning at 4 AM. It is not enough, yet, to count as any measurable amount but we are promised rain for the next four days!

  2. So sorry it caused you the problems.

    But, we still need the rain (albeit in slower doses so more infiltrates). And, even when it causes major problems, as my family learned this weekend during a wedding, those “problems” can turn into blessings in disguise.

  3. Fred–I was tempted to write, “Sent dove. Dove drowned”; but, decided instead to ask that you send your excess rain our way. Kansas is still drought-visited.