Sign of our Times


In some places, major appliances have year-round places on porches. In this case, it was only briefly during some inside remodeling.

But apparently, the rule for some folks is that if it can be seen from the road, it’s fair game.

I don’t know what the combination of messages means exactly, but it gives one pause. I had to snap this with my phone and bring it home to ponder.

And I’m wondering if we ought not put out a SLOW ANIMAL sign where we cross the road to the barn several times a day. Slow. And getting slower with every passing year.

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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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