RockFlippin’ on Goose Creek


I’d hoped for a helgrammite or big juicy rattail maggot, maybe even a crayfish or queen snake from the dark side of a creek rock today, but there was too much call from the garden and too little left for rock flippin’.

But as fate would have it, there were others doing that work for us–like this juvenile raccoon who seemed not the least bit concerned when I stopped the car on the low-water bridge to watch him foraging for a meal. Just so happens the camera was on the seat beside me, and he cooperated long enough for me to get a shot or two–but not long enough to be able to tell if he was finding anything nutritious under the dozen rocks I watched him investigate. His best bang for the buck would be a big, fat crayfish. We find their bits and pieces left over from ‘coon snaking.

Chances are, even failing to find a big crustacean, he ate well. Our creek is healthy, judging from the aquatic insects that are common there, including “water pennies”–I may go out before the sun is full down and see if I can find one of those; that would make an interesting picture.

UPDATE: Check Via Negativa for rockflippin’ entries from around the world. The submissions are still coming in, so check back from time to time.

Share this with your friends!

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.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.