The Ecology of Well-being

Still debriefing from our trip to Missouri and back a short while ago, I have dug out another image from the road.

The background was shot from the passenger’s side, going Ann’s interstate speed (which is considerably faster than Fred’s) and I marvel at what turned out to be an image with remarkable crispness and freedom from blur. [click to enlarge]

The iPhone 6s Plus is turning out to be a very good camera indeed. And I once used it for a call!

The second take-away from this annotated image with text added by the app Typorama (and their watermark Photoshopped away) is my choice of words. We were 500 miles from home.  I can’t say what I was thinking at the time.

But the landscape in the image is home to somebodies who feel a connection to this vast, flat glacially-smoothed landscape in the same way I am bonded to the corrugated ridges and valleys of my home ground.

Sense of place: part of the ecology of well-being, and this, a topic upon which I hope to elaborate. We have students coming for a week in Floyd in March, and this concept might be a useful theme by which to discuss the relationship between riches in dollars and riches in relationships.  But I digress. (Imagine!)

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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. Even though we have lived in VA nearly 30 years (way longer than any other place) – when we travel to our midwest “homeland” and come down out of the southern Ohio hill country there is a physical change as we spread out into the flat infinite expanse…ahhhh.
    But then, on the return when we get into the SW VA mountains, we say – “how beautiful” and when we drive into our Floyd County driveway our home looks so good….ahhh.

  2. Who can account for the love we feel for some landscapes on this planet! I spent my childhood on the Alberta prairies, and think longingly about the flat fields and distant vistas every day. I’m not living there now, however, and likely will never go back, except for a quick visit.And always in the summer!

  3. I moved from California to Alabama for two years long ago. For some reason, seeing video of Montana’s big sky country moved me to tears of homesickness for the West. I think being closed in by woods in Birmingham was so unfamiliar.