Worms Eat My Garbage

That’s the title of a borrowed book sitting on my desk just beyond my keyboard. I tell you this because I’m otherwise at a loss for a blogging topic this morning. I’m speechless. *Well not entirely.

It is as if I have woken to an entirely new life on a morning in May–not an amnesiac exactly except for forgetting all those things I used to do before life was possessed by The Task which suddenly is missing from my life now, no raison d’etre on a misty morning, yet full of purpose and hope–an odd paradox that has left my fingers mute.

So you can see these are my “morning pages”–an exercise to get the words coming, a common liturgy for many writers, while a blog post has been enough for me in the past. Just the prospect of being able to share some little shred of experience or opinion or concern plus a digital picture has been enough for seven years–almost every day. Hard to believe the time involved, and as my wife would say, “you need a real job.”

Finding my voice–not just so many words like this to fill up space–is both a writing and a personal need this side of the completion of my project. I set the May 6 target date back in February and to my amazement and in spite of way too many stumbles and staggers, it worked out. I wanted a book with more images; there are more than 50 and I’m satisfied with the quality. So it is not as if I am disappointed with the outcome, mostly. The clarity of my vision for what comes next is sharp but does not penetrate the  future to any great distance. Dense patchy fog, the NOAA radio man just said from the kitchen. Yeah, me too. Return to center, dude.

Listen. From very nearby over the rush of the rain-swollen creek: a whippoorwill–the only bird I know that never takes a breath between sentences. Why is that? Why can’t they whip and wait? Poorwill and listen? Is it nervous energy? Perseveration? Unmitigated feathered hubris and ego? And from a predator-prey point of view, the bird’s incessant blather says “Come eat ME, on the GROUND, tasty MEAT” over and over and…

*I tried to put my computer “to sleep” last night by pressing the “command” button and…I knew there was a function key involved but couldn’t remember which. In the process of random clicking I hit some combination that made the computer SPEAK every control I simply pointed to with the mouse (“Program Firefox /File Menu/Submenu Close Tab…) It was maddening. First thing this morning I discovered the Cmd F5 key is the kill switch combo. But next time I get lonely….

I sent off 30 books yesterday in those costly Uline Kraft book boxes that looked like they’d been packed by an individual with flawed eye-hand coordination, low standards of boxing aesthetics and a really lousy ability to focus on task. My apologies, early subscribers. I forgot in my zeal to get the order off that the boxes are pre-creased on the side toward which the bend should come. I got it backwards way more than the odds would dictate. I’ll do better in the future, so you really should order another book to give me a second chance.

Okay, I broke the wordflow gridlock and never got around to talking about the worms. Maybe next time.

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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. OK




  2. I’m thinking you need to traverse Mt. Mitchell AKA Black Dome with a live web feed and camera, you should just slowly walk to the summit with no time frame in mind, don’t pound the climb take it in like a 2nd glass of cold unsweet tea.