Study in Winter #1

Country Scenics from Floyd County, Southwest Virginia by Fred First
The way ice grows in Goose Creek fascinates me, and I’m sorry I haven’t chronicled the process over the past month. Still, where we live gets too much southern exposure. It isn’t nearly as good an ice garden as down the road a mile or so where the perpetual shade of the hills spawns crop after crop of ice every night.

And I’d have missed the opportunity to show you three shots from yesterday if I hadn’t agreed to carry one of Ann’s care packages to the kids over to the Check post office. I waited until there was at least a little light striking the valley flanks before leaving, and on the way home, risked limb and equipment and slid my boots down into the creek bed and onto the ice for views east and west along Goose Creek in its winter garb.

You can just see the road in the distance.

Meanwhile, today, an ice storm looms west just off the radar, just far enough away that I’m not going to know what to do about trying to get to the clinic this morning. Getting there, I can do. Getting home as conditions worsen over the day, not so sure. Gonna be one of those days.

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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. Yeah — I love the rare times I’ve gotten to see the ice trolls down the (Nameless?) valley. More selfishly: oh boy, a package! Thanks for braving the ice to send it.