The Blandest Month

By the Ides of March–one very long month away–today’s monochrome, its olfactory emptiness and the affective flat nothingness of February will have passed. And good riddance to the most difficult month.

And even then, we’ll be stuck in time, forever in Neither-Nor. For the full nose and spectrum of Planet Earth, another month will pass. And then–mid April!

Ah, life at its fullest bouquet and palette and vocabulary of expectation.


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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. If not for the flat nothingness and Neither-Nor periods of recovery and rejuvenation, April would not be so sweet. There is something good, in all parts of the cycle.

  2. Every month is the same here in So Cal. I have a hard time conceiving of what February is like back east. No seasons to revolve through here, except for the changing of the length of the days (which is a big deal to me.)