Fragments / Friday the 13th

Mabry hiking banjo fiddler guitar bluegrass quilt winery photography blacksburg writers Floyd
This isn’t much of a picture–the first, I thought, of what would become a series of images of the “million points of light” that the blooming spicebush offer along Nameless Creek. The several hard freezes of the past week put an end to those ideas, and it looks like this is the only reminder I’ll have of the short-lived life of Lindera benzoin in the spring of 2007.

BAMA BOUND ~ I just returned from a few days in the Heart of Dixie–a pleasant trip for this time of year, as ‘bama was experiencing the same return to coolness that we were here in southwest Virginia, though to a much lesser degree. And the pollen season had mostly passed by the time I arrived last Sunday to spend some time in my home town with my mom. Wednesday afternoon, tornado sirens woke us from an afternoon nap–one went north of Birmingham towards Gadsden, another south towards Alex City. That weather feature I don’t miss about Alabama.

BOOKS on TAPE ~ Well on CD, actually. A very thoughtful patient made a special trip back to the clinic last Thursday to bring me BLINK: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. This was the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to, and it was great–both the book and the concept. I wonder if Gladwell’s first book, TIPPING POINT, is available in the same format?

BOOKS in BAMA ~ While back in Birmingham for my birthday visit with mom, I spoke to the seniors group at her church–about a hundred folks–for a luncheon meeting. This might have been most pressure I’ve been under to do well–in my little dog and pony show before folks mom would see week after week. But seeing as how the book tied back to B’ham, it was easy to find a few pieces from Slow Road Home that “worked” for this setting. The nice man, after reading my bio, introduced me as “Floyd First.” I thought that might make a nice local bumper sticker. I hated to correct him.

STEP-IT-UP ~ Don’t forget on April 14 to join in for Step It Up Day 2007 in an event near you. Are you satisfied with the pace of politically-expedient change proposed for America’s rollback on CO2 emissions? I’m not. Cut Carbon by 80% by 2050 is the more aggressive timetable proposed by this movement. Make your voice heard on this issue, even as we feel our way toward making this massive change in business-as-usual. These are critical times, folks.

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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. floyd- glad you had a nice trip! 🙂

    i wanted to see if you had heard of the documentary “Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal and the Fight For Coalfield
    Justice” by Catherine Pancake. i just heard about it b/c she’s a native of our county and won an award for it. something i’ll be checking out……