An Object at Rest

? On the very positive side of “why this writing space gets no love” of late, as I wrote recently on Substack, the coming of spring and summer has been liberating! The landscape beyond beckons me through the sliding doors, first cup of coffee in hand, in the indigo of the cool pre-crepuscular morning. I sit at my computer less when the garden and the porch require my full attention.

But more importantly, I think, is the feeling, the hope, the tentative realization that the community we have been part of for so long–the one that ceased to be actively alive for me during the Covid years–has returned! How do I know?

I give you Exhibit A: We have attended four pot-luck or otherwise planned-with-friends meals in the past seven days. My dance card is pleasantly fuller than it has been since fall of 2019. It is wonderful. It is exhausting. The interactions–each one has a story–a story, at least worth telling to myself. I do not write. But then, left-over keystrokes to share with others are few, and the minutes here in my chair with a clear-ish head, even fewer.

On the less positive side to explain my low follow-through with writing here: our age peers are either increasingly ill of mind or body, or are in the motions of or expressing their near-future intentions to transmorgrify into the “continuum of care” , more often than not, near their children. The boomers we grew up with are soon out-migrating to “The Home” in one sense or another.

These inconvenient truths, in turn, move me away from my happy place from which I have preferred to write. Intimations of mortality at every turn makes me feel less bullish on the future, less prone to invest in thinking–and writing–into the very indeterminate block of time.

So I am in an eddy of sorts. The seas are not calm; the sails are far from slack. I am NOT at rest. But I guess the important part is that the ship remains afloat. And after that, I can dog-paddle and look for flotsam. A distant shore would be too much to expect in this life, and yet…?

Share this with your friends!

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.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. what a beautiful picture. I wonder if this is the original shot or has been modified. With the possibilities of AI we will never be certain of how the original scene appeared.

    I am glad I checked out this website today.

    • David, re the image: It is mine (from a location near Rogersville TN). And yes, it is not exactly like it came into the camera.

      I can’t tell you what kind of “filters” I applied to alter saturation, sharpness and “pop” to achieve the desired effect. But for me, photography is a way of duplicating in the viewer of the image what I see-hear-touch-smell-experience at the moment the shutter is pressed.

      I generally don’t recombine images or create visual stories that never existed. I do try to recreate MY point of view, my full wonder, you might say, in a landscape or nature shot; and sometimes the camera image just needs a bit of a shift to make that happen. I no longer have Photoshop. I use Affinity Photo, Aurora HDR Pro, and some in-camera tools. I almost exclusively use the camera I have with me at all times. Now, that is the iPhone 14 Pro.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Fred

    Beautiful photo. So green and serene.

    July 30 2023…………how interesting………..My birthday………just turned 67………and love it……….looking forward to 70 !!

    I know I am slow about connecting with you, but you and your website still have a place on my computer and in my heart.

    Take care
    Mark Whitted