Sunday: The View From Church

Bend in the Road

One windy spring Sunday as we were leaving, I resisted her “exhortations” to hurry-up-let’s-go and stood beside the car long enough at the Huffville Church parking lot to snap this picture. I’ve long admired the bend in the quiet country lane, the slopes and angles of the family farm nestled in the curve.

Some autumn day when the maple leaves are half hanging and half scattered round about underneath, I’ll take the tripod, take my time, and do this setting justice.

And it just occurred to me: we’ve taken that little road home, but never approached the church from that direction before. Might be a perspective for a shot of the church and cemetery against a dramatic backdrop of October sky. I’ll set a reminder for the end of September to check it out.

The next few weeks will be busy from a book-speaking point of view, and that’s good.

Galax Leaf and String this Saturday 10 til 4 (I understand I am speaking somewhere for an unknown bit of time at noon), then that evening at 7:00, the SustainFloyd Open House where (as a small contribution toward what I expect to be an interesting evening of conversation) I’ll share a 15 minute image-essay with just images, a few of which feature quotes by John Muir, Wendell Berry, HD Thoreau, and such.

My mom comes to visit the next week, which includes the Floyd Jubilee, in which I’ll not take part this year so I can entertain my company. She and I will be visiting some of my friends whose names she’s heard and whose arts and crafts and homes I’d like for her to get to know while she’s here.

June 24th I’ll be one of several authors at the Floyd Country Store during the day (hours TBA) at a book table as part of the Country Store 100 year celebration.

And June 25, I’ll be speaking to the assembled audience for the Creative Writing awards ceremony at the Wytheville Chautauqua event, my part from 930 to 1030, hopefully in a full auditorium amongst some of our former neighbors and old friends in the town that brought us to Virginia in 1975.

Then July is travel month. After saying last time “if I never get on a plane again, it will be too soon” I will be doing just that three times in less than 8 weeks, capped off by a visit to South Dakota in freakin’ August, where, last time we were there that month, the bank thermometers read 107 degrees. We’re not in Goose Creek any more, ToTo.

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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. Your photo is dramatic with its angles and light and dark contrasts. I am sure the October view will be different but beautiful — barbara

  2. Good location choice Fred. I took some pictures there last year. It was on my 5 mile bicycle trek to retrieve my truck from some repair work at Gearhardt’s Garage. I also stopped to say Hello to one of my neighbors that was recently planted in the cemetary.

    Graveyards are interesting places and it’s hard to resist reading tombstones and wandering back in time. I’ll be going back there too.

  3. Jeffrey, I feel the same way, and have NOT spent any time in the Huffville cemetery, but plan to do so. The church is in a lovely setting, a Currier and Ives bucolic composition on the landscape, in place for generations.

  4. It is a good place to embrace your inquisitive ponderings about what is, and what was. I really relate to your writings and observations and share your feelings and wonderment. You are more educated but I’m not sure that is an advantage, or even necessary.

    For extra credit, I noticed a cell tower visible on Fisher’s View Mt. It’s the same one I see from my backyard, but a 90 degree divergence. I didn’t have a compass so I’ll say look to your right if you are facing the church front entrance.

    Pack a lunch if you take the graveyard tour. Some have stories in words, others challenge the imagination in the symbols and details without descriptions.