Cascades, Crickets and Katydids

Slow Road Home: a Blue Ridge Book of Days
Image by fred1st via Flickr

In the dark, standing on the front porch this morning with my coffee, this is what I heard.

Only a week ago, the only water sounds would have been then overnight dew dripping from the maples along the road. The creeks were almost mute, small panicked schools of minnows furtively seeking shelter from the sun in what few pools remained.

We have gotten almost two inches of rain this week–not in time for the garden, but a help towards next year’s creek flows, drinking water and soil moisture, with possible a good bit more coming before the middle of the week.

With the cool day of rain, we’ll probably throw a few sticks in the wood stove tomorrow, more for the sake of seasonal ceremony than need for heat (for me, at least) and that will mark the thin edge of the wedge of autumn, ready or not, it’s sliding its way in.

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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. Mornin’, Fred.
    To an untrained ear, the recording sounds more like white noise. I had to imagine myself there, in the darkness, on the porch of that sanctuary to appreciate it. And I do!
    As for the edge of the thin wedge, I feel pretty sure that after Monday, we will have seen the last of the 80s until next year. Time to put away the shorts and Hiwaian shirts and find the wool pants and flannel shirts.

  2. Good news Fred. Apparently your wish for rainfall is on the way from the Gulf. Bring it on gently. I don’t need the excitement of the more violent thunderstorm gully washers we’ve had recently.

    I was wondering what I heard from the insect world a few days ago. When are we due for the cicadas (sp?)? I heard a solo song of unbelievable volume. It hasn’t been repeated since. I had read that Tennesee had their event earlier this year.

    Spider season is blooming and so are the stinkbugs. Last year was light on Asian ladybugs and I wonder how the drought has effected this year.

  3. Not sure if it is related to the dryness, but we’ve not found a single tick on us or the dog since early spring. And HOW I do NOT miss the lady bugs! But they have a last hurrah–on a warm day following an early frost in the fall. We’ll see them again, but not in the numbers hopefully that we’ve experienced in years past.

  4. Ah but I do love to sit by a real fire, I have passed many a perfect evening with a book, the dog and cats and the fire.
    Personally I am so looking forward to cold winter days and lots and lots of snow

  5. Momentum is building towards some serious writing towards another book, and the short days near the fire (oh yes–and the dog) stoke my Muse like no other combination of things. The long hot days of summer, not so much.

  6. Sho nuff about the ticks. I had one walking around on me when I was picking blueberries. No other encounters.

    The apple crop was a dud but that seems to be cyclical after a good harvest like last year.

    I’m heating with wood too. Got a dumptruck full of pole wood. Hours of heat in the heat blocking it to length and stacking to dry. I’ve been heating myself some more splitting that and stacking again in it’s storage unit.

    Do you mind if I post part of a e-mail joke? There are drugs hidden inside my firewood. The maul, sledge and wedges are handy and visible. I’m still waiting for the ninja police force to find something.