Creek Jots 2012-12-20

â–¶ We will have some firewood left come spring, but not nearly enough for next winter. I’m hoping to get a load from the neighbors again (they don’t do this routinely or commercially) since their heaping truckful was so consistently high-quality: mostly oak, mostly straight-grained and splitable for kindling. I’ve seen dump truck loads for sale between home and Christiansburg, and will call the numbers I’ve jotted down. I will purchase two truck-loads to replenish our stacks near the house, and have the better part of another winters-worth drying out of the way somewhere. It will be money well spent.

â–¶ Okay. Crunch-time. Mostly mornings, mostly the next three months. If I’m going to make any real progress on the Floyd County Almanac, this will be when it happens. Or not. And if not, if I never get this thing to print, it will still have been a rewarding journey. A destination would be nice, but I’m enjoying the scenery along the way. And perhaps, at least, I can compile what fragments I have in rough form into something to leave behind for anyone who might care to know someday what brought a “biology watcher” to live and write on and about Goose Creek.

▶ For the next few months especially we will be glad to live nestled in a sheltered valley and not up top with the stunning views of distant horizons we lack here. We will be content to see ridge line treetops up above us, agitated by the roaring winds that pass overhead, while we are barely aware of the dangerous chill that those with the view must suffer these blustery winter days.

â–¶ By all means, keep your small children indoors. The fear mongers are right. Nature is too dangerous a place to send small children! Or if you do, anchor them to a fixed object. Think this kid will be marked for life? (short video)  But can you imagine the stories he will tell his incredulous grandchildren: “Why I remember when I was snatched up by an eagle and had the strangest sensation of flying. Before he let go.”

â–¶ Image is imagined scene doodled in ProCreate for iPad using a stylus.

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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 eagle video is a hoax. The creators who have admitted it were a college group specializing in CGI. All the science I don’t understand but they are very good and I’m sure will get an A on the project. The pros dissected the video frame by frame and were able to detect inconsistent shadow directions. So it’s safe to let your kids outdoors unless it’s on a school playground.

  2. …and yet, there is a small child out there somewhere who will watch this video of him-or-herself being clutched and airlifted and remember it vividly and tell the story with great pride (and no small thrill of terror) celebrating this life-changing event from early childhood. My bet is they will grow up to be a raptor specialist. Or ornithology taxidermist.

  3. Diane Sawyer’s ABC Nightly News exposed the hoax on Wed. night.
    Procreate looks good!
    I hope you can focus this winter on finishing your almanac. In any event, have fun with it, and at least share what you come up with in an e-book version.