Love of Country: The Local Reach of Patriotism

I have put up the first of two parts of an essay read at Chateau Morrisette Winery’s Spoken Word Dinner of May 11. The topic was patriotism–not an area much visited at Fragments. Or isn’t it?

…and so I asked myself–as I walked our forest path near home later that day–what then does it mean to be PATRIOTIC? Am I thankful for the blessings of my FATHERland, my country? Yes, no question, and the more so–I thought as I stepped from rock to rock across the creek–as I have come to discover what is sacred in this very COUNTRY-SIDE, as I gain a richer understanding of the specific geographies of my life, and know by heart the land within these boundaries of home.

My patriotism begins to grow from a physically-specific love and honor to a certain landscape–not from abstract feelings of national self-regard held within borders too vast to comprehend.

As I think was true for our forefathers-my love of Pater Land begins in thankfulness for the abundant providence of MATER Earth, this “gift of good land” that is our blessing and covenant.

I’ll post part two at Nameless Creek tomorrow. Part One

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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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