Summer Solstice: Long Days, Low Drive

Rare: a place to pull over when a scene demands a picture! Click to enlarge

So it must be something other than the heat, because we’ve been absolutely blessed these past few days with the most pleasant temperatures, especially for this time of year. It has been a return to the “old normal” in which the first half of June on Goose Creek makes you happy to be in the sun and happy to be inside wearing a long-sleeve shirt.

Even with this delightful country air conditioning, I feel the familiar summer lethargy, the loss of momentum and joy that always descends on me this time of year. The weather’s copacetic, but I grow apathetic. [sorry, a poetic impulse.]

Maybe it is day length, the pollen in the air, the featureless green wall that shuts us in until leaf fall months into the future. Maybe it is because so many outdoor chores demand my energy and attention that there’s not much Fred-time left, a benefit of this solitude and time of life that I have grown to need and to cherish.

Yesterday, I was bound for an afternoon celebration party upon the completion of the Floyd Artisans’ Trail event. Afterwards, I promised myself a leisurely drive along the Parkway with my camera–something I’ve not done now since spring wildflower season ended abruptly with my decision to not go to Mt Rogers this year.

But by six o’clock, the rains came in (on that side of the county, but not this one) and the only image I brought home was from the setting you see here, taken a couple of hours earlier, when clear skies prevailed.

There’s something hopeful in the haying, so maybe I am feeling a bit more chipper this morning, having added the first image all month to the archives. Now, I have to go let the young hens into their pen, feed and water them, then give the garden the good soaking I was counting on from the 70% chance of rain we missed. Again.

It is calm and gray, and yesterday, the orb weavers webs were bright with dew. If I have any photo-luck, I’ll be sure and share. We’ll lose the pasture grass soon (yes, we found someone who wants it!) but until then, it could be the best year for spider webs in quite a while.

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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. That photo is now my wallpaper – thanks very much! You live in a truly beautiful part of the country. I always enjoy driving up 77 and onto 81 near Wytheville.

  2. I love this picture, Fred! What a feeling of peace falls over me as I look at it. You’ve got such a great eye. Thanks for sharing with us.