Friday SHoRTs

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&tc… This has been a difficult fern to make look nice, because unlike yesterday’s featured pteridophyte (Osmunda cinnamomea) that had feather-duster distinct spore-producing separate stalks, this Interrupted Fern (same genus) looks like it forgot what it was doing, interrupting the leafy sterile frond for a few iterations of spore-producing pinnae, then resuming its green photosynthetic tasks.

&tc… Funny how time heals–even very tiny wounds. I’d almost forgotten. In the garden this week, I’ve been so intent on my planting I haven’t dwelt on the stingy itchy spots down next to my scalp and on my arms. I just remember to wear a cap and a long sleeve shirt and go on. But it occurred to me yesterday: hey, these are not your plain vanilla gnats. I’ve only one or two years before felt that invisible irritation, but never before the middle of June: Noseeums. Biting midges so small you can fit three on the head of a pin. Dang global warming.

&tc… Places of Our Lives: a Visual Essay. That’s what I’ve tentatively titled a program I’ll be giving twice in October. The plan is to take three “makes a point” essays and illustrate them with digital images. The chosen pieces are (1) Child’s Play: Addressing Nature Deficit Disorder; (2) Calling Them By Name–that encourages folks to learn to identify trees, birds, wildflowers etc as a way of gaining appreciation and respect for our personal environments); and (3)Where I am Married–that talks about sense of place, particularly mine for where we live our lives.)

&tc… I plod with the iPod. Personally, I’d ditch iTunes if I could. I’d expected more of Mac. Even so, I’m manually adding and deleting now, and it’s working okay. Yesterday I loaded an mp3 book-on-CD (not exactly a streamlined process but it works) and with my new Sony Earbuds purchased at BestBuy in South Dakota, I’m happy. I also found most of my lost music library on CD’s hidden in the wardrobe. I used to take these to work years ago–Beatles, Lettermen, lots of classical stuff, Harry Nilsson. NeoLuddite wife Ann still gives me grief, which I accept, having had lots of practice.

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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. I enjoyed your essay on gardening in the Press last week, Fred. I hope it goes better this year.

  2. The kids thought I needed an iPod some years ago. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but now I put short stories on it and listen to them on my walk to work.

    Nice photo of the fern, despite your modesty!