Threat Level Orange

Also yellow, red, and ochre, but mostly mousy browns.

The Fall leaves are simply falling, dead, pale, and sad. After the prolonged drought, the sudden hard rains yesterday plastered every surface near the house with a mat of sodden, mostly-monochrome, mostly maple drape wetness that glistens in the light of the floods on the corner of the house this dark morning.

We might get up to five inches more rain today, sending more trees down across our road. A big oak threw itself down across Goose Creek Run yesterday, sending at least two local church travelers backing down the treacherous twists to find a turn-around spot.

A 911 call got it removed; I’ll have to see if there are any firewood-worthy remains. But I’m afraid there will be copy-cat repeats of this act of arboreal terrorism, as we head down that slippery slope of nature’s collusion to make us crazy with the unexpected–a season called Winter.

Meanwhile on other fronts, watch out for:

â–¶ People with cameras. Be very afraid.

â–¶ Folks against fracking fluids in their coffee.

You were warned.

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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. The story about Threat Level Orange brought back a memory of post 9/11. After 9/11, I flew out to visit my son who was then stationed at Norfolk Navy Base. Mike & his wife took me on a tour of the base. On arriving Mike told me I must leave my camera in the car. When I asked why, he told me cameras were prohibited on base since 9/11 & if I were spotted taking photos, my camera would be confiscated & those who watched were everywhere……………..Prior to 9/11, I had never had that problem taking photos on the base……………