Aging Gracefully: Old Churches #4

I don’t know anything about this church except its location. It once was on my way to work. It hasn’t moved. I just don’t travel those roads anymore.

Near the intersection of Route 8 and Union Valley Road in Riner, the Virginia Creeper added a note of hope to an otherwise forlorn-looking, long-abandoned sanctuary.  This was one of the first images that came from the D70 after it came a few weeks after the Mabry shoot I mentioned yesterday.

It impressed me that the door and the shuttered window had two different architects with disparate thoughts about lines and style. God didn’t make us all triangles, after all. There are definitely some squares and some loopy types amongst our brethren and sisteren.

Meanwhile on Goose Creek, we are in bear season. The painters arrived yesterday morning all excited. They’d come upon a bear just across the road in what we call Yucca Flats. When they approached, it loped up the hill into our yard, under our bedroom window, and on up into the woods. We thought the dog was off her nut earlier. But she must have smelled it, barking her fool head off and we didn’t see a thing. Then we learned the rest of the story.

Blackberries are ripe. And we are ripe with black bears.

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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 like the round window high up near the peak, too! Real strange about the mis-matched window styles – looks like there might be another one behind the Virginia creeper. Isn’t there an abandoned church between your place and the Shawsville Pike?

  2. Black bears? Did I read that right? You have black bears? How wonderful is that

    Let me see, we have fat, brown slugs
    Nope, no comparison!