Shaking Things Up

Salt Pond Mountain/Giles County VA
Image by fred1st via Flickr

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

For me, with the onset of cooler weather, and after the brain-fuzz of summer, I feel the urge to NOT do what I’ve always done.

However, what changes to make depends on the different destination and consequences one wants, I suppose.

I had quite a few opportunities yesterday at the Land Trust event to speak with folks from Tech, Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Giles county, Galax and elsewhere about the possibility of speaking to groups in those places. Bouncing ideas off other folks is helpful–you see your own reflection in ways that solitary brainstorming will not show you.

In some cases, tomorrow’s efforts would involve doing what I’ve always done–for a much wider audience, I hope. In other cases, I’d like to get–and offer–something different. While I’ve been incorporating the photography more and more into what I do, I need to take the next step.

I won’t bore both of you with the details–and there aren’t many yet. But fall is shaking me up–in a good way now (even though the back pain episode that elicited last week’s lament is still with me)–and we’ll see where this leads.

The possibility of “preaching” on stewardship from the pulpit of a Unitarian church and the notion of teaching classes in nature writing both came up in conversation yesterday. Interesting!

The photo-notecards (what’s left of my dwindling stock) sold well, so maybe I need to consider ramping that back up again, with a few new sets over the winter?

And just before leaving Mt. Lake Hotel, I ran upstairs to get a newspaper (the Roanoke Times published my op-ed piece!) and somebody called my name. It was Leonard Atkins, author of many books related to the Appalachian Trail. He was conducting a several-day-long “class” for an “*elderhostel” group that included field trips to explore local natural history. Now there’s something different. Wonder if I might do that? What a fortuitous crossing of paths. The future is full of possibilities!

*It’s not just ME changing. Elderhostel has changed its name (and its target participants) recently–twice, actually–and is now called the Road Scholar program. Check it out.

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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. Hi, Fred. I’m the woman from Galax you spoke with about perhaps teaching at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts. I just read your op-ed piece in the Roanoke Times (having arrived home too late yesterday to read the Sunday paper!) and I wanted to compliment you on it. Fracking is sneaking up on us, and most people have no idea what it is. Thanks for enlightening us.

  2. “…Leonard Atkins, author of many books related to the Appalachian Trail…”

    Ooh, I love serendipity. The next time you’re in contact with ol’ “Habitual Hiker,” tell him “eArThworm” of the A.T. Museum [collecting items for its library] reads your blog and says, “Hi.” I have copies of several of his marvelous books that are destined for that library. [btw, love the blog!]