Creek Jots ~ 2010-03-25

Buffalo Mt from Hale Road
Image by fred1st via Flickr

☼ I hardly ever get colds. When I do, they last 3 days. Whatever I picked up in Charlottesville last week is in its fourth day, and shows no signs of relinquishing control of my histamine cascade, with alternating phases of dripping, clogging and relatively normal breathing–not so very much of the latter lately. So I am missing a tourism planning meeting this morning so as not to share this wretched condition with others. (I almost called this post Creek Snots, but I’m not that crude!)

☼ Go over and welcome Jim Connor to the blogosphere. He is full of stories, some of them I’m almost certain, are true. Jim is also a new-ish resident of Floyd County, adding his character to the cast here to our benefit. His special interest is ballistics and the science and technology of arms. Check his sidebar for more on his gun school and such.

☼ I’m working on a column inspired by (but not drawing as much as I’d originally intended from) Lee Smith’s Sense of Place and the Literature of the South “speech” last Saturday at the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville. I’ve sort of gone off on a side-branch, recognizing just now that my life lists of native plants and animals identified, my photographic archives from the landscapes I’ve known or wanted to know, and lately the writing–have all been ways to accumulate a deeper understanding of place.

Lee was kind enough to mail the text of her presentation to me when I asked. I may come back to it soon as this is a topic that warrants a continuing deeper look.

The one bit from the Charlottesville presentation that sticks in memory is Lee’s father’s response when she tried to encourage him to leave the small town (Grundy) where she grew up and move to North Carolina where she lives today.

“My daddy always said, “Honey, I could never leave the mountains. I need me a mountain to rest my eyes against.”

I know what he means without knowing fully why for me–and for many of us in Floyd County–that this is so.

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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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