Autumn Creeps Closer


So I made good on my intent to match the color of yesterday’s sumac with the equally-early Virginia Creeper. On the way home from town yesterday I stopped along one of my alternate ways home for a few shots of this orange-to-scarlet climbing vine.

Interesting how, when you have a certain color, pattern and growth habit you’re searching the woods for, how much more you see than when you’re seeing just enough to navigate home. Riding familiar roads with intentional vision–processing every flash of red in trees looking for this simple and common plant–made this routine trip a quest, a visual scavenger hunt. It slowed me down–to see the trees and not just the blur of forest.

If you click on the picture above, it will take you to a one minute slide show with just three images of Virginia Creeper (and some narrative edu-text) in it so far. I call it “Autumn’s Fire” and hope to add to it over the coming weeks.

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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. It’s beautiful, Fred, I look forward to more pix. A neighbor of my father’s once threatened to spray every vine on my dad’s fence because he thought it was poison ivy. It was creeper, of course.