Rooted, Grounded and Found


The title comes from a section of essays and stories in Slow Road Home that are drawn more from the safe-harbor side of a year (Summer 2002 to summer 2003) that began very much unrooted and lost.

I’ll use that phrase to preface this 150-word “assignment” by Orion Magazine to say something about the special character of the places of our lives. Submissions were accepted (it’s been a couple of years) and one or more made it into the magazine. This photo-essay was not one of them.

So I forgot about it until, as so often happens, my hand fell this morning upon it in Dropbox where it has been sitting in the dark since 2011.

I dusted it off and added it to Scribd and embedded it below. It is not formatted for viewing at large dimensions but according to the specs included in the submissions guidelines from Orion.

If you’ve read Slow Road Home (or What We Hold In Our Hands, for that matter) you’ll find a close resonance in this short passage with many of those essays and homilies about relationship to place. I’ve not quite sucked all the marrow out of that bone even yet.

So here are 150 words and a few digital images (again not properly set for viewing online) that tells you that, even home alone and sick on Christmas day 2013, there’s no place I’d rather be.

[scribd id=193630695 key=key-2225ftkch17ircqcn5go mode=scroll]

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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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