To Grandmother’s House We go

The simplest toys are the best. Oh yes, and a big soft dog, too.

Was it only a week ago Abby spent all day–literally all day–in Goose Creek terrorizing the poor minnows? Some of the were captured and released a half dozen times or more, I’m certain.

I needed a few more pictures to finish out my Powerpoint words-and-images presentation I’ll be doing several times later this summer. This scene above will weave into the narrative, ending with several more shots of Abby and Tsuga together–not a difficult twosome to find in the same frame last week:

In his book, Last Child in the Wood, journalist and author, Richard Louv, calls this condition “nature deficit disorder”. He describes the costs of our de-natured existence and also offers encouragement that we can do better for our children.

The “Leave No Child Inside” campaign that has come from his work is just one possible path to give back to children the sounds, sensations and sensibilities that are lacking when they are not participants in the rhythms and cycles of the natural world.

But then, in our small corner of the globe, the task of immersion in nature is not that hard. And when Abby visits Granny and Dumpa on Goose Creek, they just give her a bucket, a small minnow net, a big yellow dog, and an afternoon outside. The rest, she makes up as she loses herself in play.

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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. As you may know from previous comments, a large part of my childhood was spent in similar fashion. It was magical, and I miss it!

  2. Responses, all unrelated:

    I love “NDD.”

    Go, Abby, go!

    I live a mile from Goose Creek. Another Goose Creek in Virginia. I lobbied in a small way to have the new elementary school here named “Goose Creek Elementary School.” Instead, we got “Belmont Station Elementary School.” Belmont is a developer’s construct, and I have no idea what “station” refers to. NDD affects us in so many ways.

    I love your “About” blurb. Probably the finest I’ve read.