A Rare Alignment of Stars

Final flowering: Soon, only the Witch Hazel blooms

Why, yes, it has been a few days since I checked in here. But I plead a bad case of OBE–Overcome By Events–an abbreviation I learned only recently but have the feeling I’ll use often. It must fall under the same genre of explanatory rules as dear Mister Murphy’s Laws, don’t you think?

At any rate, in spite of my planning ahead with prepared posts over the course of my Parkway Symposium diversions last Thursday through Saturday, getting and staying online at Hotel Roanoke was frustrating: for instance, my post for Blog Action Day I had emailed myself to post on Friday never got to the PUBLISH stage. It was the Marcellus shale piece I’ll post here this week, since so far I’ve only pointed to it at the op-ed page of the Roanoke Times.

But as I started out to tell in brief: the Symposium met my expectations and hopes with regards to the opportunity it provided for meeting folks I might possibly be able to work with in the future in the realm of “interpretative” kinds of parkway activities and such.

And under the “alignment” umbrella, to make a long story short, I was amazingly fortunate (and also a little bit bold) to be invited to dinner where I sat within easy conversation distance to two NY Times best-selling authors–Peter Jenkins and Richard Louv. And Friday night after Richard’s presentation (which I taped), I hung out in the pub with and enjoyed getting to know the present and former Parkway supervisors and the CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and other BRP75 folk.

I have a piece from the experience of the symposium I’ll submit for today’s Star Sentinel and Floyd Press deadline. Ostensibly, I was to take a “journalist” approach, and offer an objective, inclusive description of the three days. But it turns out, it is an essay in which I venture subjective judgements and proffer a bias towards the parkway’s “reunite kids with nature” thrust and Richard Louv’s presentation.

I’ll post it here on Thursday if you’re interested. Or not.

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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. Please come back Fred. As cutesy as OBE is, it’s odd that an aspiring wordsmith should embrace an aspect of culture that should go away.
    It’s hard to justify it’s effecient. You spout, listener says, “What does that mean?” Not a great shortcut or advance in communications.

    MPP, one of many.

  2. I’m at a loss, Jeffrey. I stand naive of this as an “aspect of culture” and only know of it as a life-intrusion common to all flesh. Or so I thought.

  3. I was referring to letter talk, not the overwhelmed concept.

    WMD was nuclear and chemical weapons in sufficient amounts and delivery systems to be some giant thing. I think that’s morphed down to a gun that holds more than one bullet.

    It was once mostly limited to government and corporate knuckleheads that thrive on confusion and lack of clarity. The text culture evolved into some notion that we can abbreviate a sentence fragment into first letters and you guess the rest. kwim?

    It’s not progress.

    Sorry to go offtrack from your newsletter and topics. I never did find your op ed piece or where you might have linked to it.

    Also off topic is a reminder to visit the Huffville Church. Colors are still muted around here and I’m not convinced yet that they might get better. I enjoy photography too as a hobby and found a new view yesterday while on a hike less than a mile from my home. I was without a camera so I guess I’ll be taking another hike.

  4. Looking forward to reading your write up for Star Sentinel. I was honored to be in the room with such wonderful people, like yourself, who are interested in making the changes that need to be made.