Creek Notes: 2010-10-27

Gulf Moisture drapes Floyd County Autumn Hills

You can find images that go with some of these snippets at this gallery at–a service I am really enjoying. Check it out!

â–¶ I have been invited to go to Peru with a group of high school students and a tropical forest ecologist next summer. My initial impulse was “of course I’ll go.” It would be an incredible experience–as a writer, as a photographer, and as a world citizen who is generally not well traveled. But it would end up costing about a third of my paltry year’s worth of social security checks, or half of my current business account balance. Also, a new feature: I don’t have complete confidence in my physical tolerance. That consideration has NEVER stopped me from doing much of anything before. But I’ve never been 62 before. I’ll have to decide soon what to do.

â–¶ I’m really delighted that Scrivener upgrade preview is now available, and am using it to research an upcoming essay on “the end of men”–no, not an apocalyptic rant, except in the realm of gender role shifts in the US and the world. You can see a screen shot. Loving the comments that, when clicked, carry you back to that part of the multi-page document. If there’s a Book Three, it will likely be produced using this wonderful tool. Okay. Enough swooning and fawning for now. Oh–and there IS a windows version now. And a free 30 day preview. I’m just sayin’….

â–¶ We’re under a tropical-feeling blanket of warm-wet air these past few days. It is way too warm, and reminds me of being at the beach. There’s that kind of feel in the air that reminds me of my Alabama childhood. Yesterday I stopped at Pauley’s Garden for it’s expansive view of the western horizon (image above) under cloud cover, compliments of the Gulf of Mexico. The steady southwesterly wind was strong enough that it was hard to stand steady enough to capture this three-image panorama. The unidentified hawk in the gallery wheeled and called overhead, and for a moment, I wheeled with him.

â–¶ At the Parkway Symposium, I was surprised to learn that neither of the best-selling authors really uses “modern” writing tools in their work. Peter Jenkins writes his travel stories out long-hand in journal-type books, and somebody transcribes it all into digital format for organizing and editing. Richard Louv uses a Mac, but types his work into final form in a word processor. Both are looking at the possibility of self-publishing; Jenkins already knew about Lightningsource. BTW, the piece I wrote about the event is now up at Roanoke Star Sentinel.

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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. With apologies to Grampa George, Roald Dahl, for being flip, There’s plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this trip, there’s only one of them in the whole world, and that’s all there’s ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?

  2. Don’t want to be a dummy of DO or DON’T if one or the other is stoopid. One of those dummies would spend $5k for non-essential “enrichment” and wish he had it to replace the car after the era of fixed income descends in just a few years at most. Or help the kids. Or repair the house. All of these needs will with certainty arise. The end of the income stream casts a whole nuther light on decisions about spending. I don’t think I’m going to like that particular phase of later life very much; good thing we’ve never been big spenders.

  3. Fred: Go to Peru. Your health is ok now. what about a few years down the road??? You can still get around…….many people older than you travel. Bills, money issues, those will always be around.
    Start planning now…….do a budget, etc etc…you know the drill.
    The sad thing is, if you don’t go to Peru, you may regret it later, and it will be too late. Think of all the wonderful photos you will be able to shoot, and stories you will be able to write, when you return and do a Fred’s Peru Book!!!

    Say Hello to Ann and Tsuga for me

  4. I’m with everybody else. Go to Peru!

    Before you start playing the Old card, remember: “You’re just a boy!”

  5. 62 year old man. 85 year old thumbs and wrists and low back. Should have taken out the extended warranty package long ago, but never thought I’d live this long.