Cirque du Cereal

There is no standing pasture, finally, after expecting it to be felled since early June. So no more spider webs or grasses heavy with dew. This one, and a few others I may yet post, are all that I have to mark summer of 2012 memories of the “front yard.”

With the single strands of web, this image reminded me of a recent shot I saw of some guy walking across Niagara Falls gorge on a tight rope. The circles of light I think come from the water droplets that adorned my UV haze filter as I waded through the waist-high grass in pursuit of the light of that morning.

Hence, the title. Life under the Big Top…

Where the future of Fragments, I think, will be different from its past decade. No more attempts to engage in conversation about issues far more important than spiders and snakes of Goose Creek, but those topics–the hardest kind of post to create–are gaining absolutely no traction and leading to an excess of frustration and disappointment.

Meanwhile, I’ll pour my words and energy into other less public-for-now endeavors. And post the occasional photo. A dog or chicken story from time to time. And the local happenings from town and county.

But the word du jour is UNCLE. I have finally let go that part of the activist in me that thinks of this blog as an outlet or platform. Been there, done that. I only hope that such matters are being effectively shared and actions underway elsewhere on the increasingly wide and noisy interwebs.

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.

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  1. You didn’t waste your time by trying Fred. Welcome back to the real world where most of us are irrelevant. How’s that Twitter thing working out? Don’t have an opinion about anything in more than one sentence. Offering links to information that matters to you suggests your readers can’t do that without your help. Then the discussion, if such a thing exists anymore, is about who the source is and their motive.

    I have a long list of “I told you so.” that I could document. Not much satisfaction in that either. If it was one in a hundred or one in ten correct, someone will say even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

    Enjoy the day.

  2. You might try the ol “share it on facebook” button that is on most article sites. It might not be the same as adding your own thoughts but it is a kind of “conversation” among friends.

    I find myself doing more sharing on Facebook than Twitter these days…And less on my blog.

  3. Oh no! Cutting back on Fragments? Say it ain’t so, Joe…er, Fred!

    That being said, I do understand the frustration involved, but you DO have loyal readers who will miss your opinions and exhortations.

  4. I suppose I will have to sublimate those vignettes-with-a-message into the Floyd County Almanac, or find another venue for them. And I will continue aggregating links to web pages whose topics might conceivably work towards an essay–only because that has been the lens with which I examined the web every morning now for over a decade. I’ll just save the time and energy I’ve expended increasingly for no impact on something that perhaps will reach a more targeted audience of readers some day. Or not. One has to imagine he or she has a point and a purpose and I will continue to nurture that illusion privately.

  5. I can understand your frustration, too, Fred. I notice with dismay the very few comments on your posts when they are about matters that are more than local. I think Gary’s suggestion to “Share” links on Facebook is a good one. I definitely need your help to find the good stuff on the Internet! I have clicked “Notify me of new posts” at the end of the comment section, so I won’t fail to know of your posts. I have been checking for them daily for almost 10 years now. I want to be connected with the Appalachians through your blog for the rest of my life. Don’t let me down.

  6. Well, now, Fred, I think you are selling yourself short. Do you know how many people visit your blog and don’t comment? While I share your frustration (I took my blog off-line), I do think that it is a wonderful vehicle for engaging in conversations with one’s self, if no one else. I still post to my blog, but visiting it requires a user ID and a password – I got tired of the spammers and hackers. I’m not suggesting that you take yours off-line, but I do think that posting about your thought processes does help others. And the links that you provide are certainly useful. Blogs are pretty much out of favor these days – seems as though everyone hangs out on Facebook. But that doesn’t mean that you have to follow! My blog is much more reflective these days – I’m done with the activist stance, too.

    Chin up and keep marching! Onward through the fog!

  7. Fred, I hope you will reconsider. I almost never comment on your more activist-y posts, but I read them all, and I usually also follow and read links that you post. My lack of comments is mostly due to the fact that I have already resigned myself to the hellish fate of the earth and mankind, rather than being due to a lack of interest. You might be preaching to the choir in regards to your regular blog readers – hence, not much need for discussion. That doesn’t mean that those posts aren’t appreciated!

  8. I read faithfully every day and a multitude of your posts get passed along to my spouse or compadres as suggested reading, but, comment, hardly ever. I backed off commenting a long while ago–I don’t take criticism well and just don’t like my feelings wounded by the haters. Poor excuse–but it’s what I got.

  9. My blog still produces interesting conversations…on Facebook. People inexplicably (to me) click through to read the blog post, then go back to Facebook to comment in it. I even thought about implementing Facebook comments on my WordPress blog – but decided against it for a host of reasons that mostly come down to the fact I really hate Facebook and resent feeling like I have to use it if I ever want to hear from anybody gain. But I keep using it…

  10. “However much concerned I was at the problem of misery in the world, I never let myself get lost in broodings over it. I always held firmly to the thought that each one of us can do a little more to bring some portion of it to an end.” Albert Schweitzer

    There is plenty to despair of these days, for all of us. Had you considered the good you do, simply by providing your readers with a moments respite? To smile at a lovely photograph, laugh at a story about Gandy, be reminded of simple joys – those are not small things.