Creek Under Ice

image copyright Fred First

Nameless Creek comes from darkness underground, beginning in a dozen springs a mile south. In its past, it has raged back and forth between the ridges, swollen and angry, carving our narrow valley from Appalachian stone. Today the little stream purrs along peacefully enough, cold, clear as liquid glass, on its way down mountains. It carries the smell of snow to a sandy beach on the sea. Tonight our little creek will freeze along the edges. In a month, we will hear a river embryo calling faintly from under ice and we will walk on water. (from Slow Road Home)

I’d carried my pocket recorder with me yesterday when I stood admiring the late-morning light on the creek. I would take a sound sample of the babble of the creek under ice, patch that as a fade-in and fade-out either side of a reading of the paragraph above, combined with the image. I really thought I would do it. I have the pieces. But I never quite made it to complete the task, and now I’m off to work again, tomorrow the rotary presentation in Wytheville, Thursday all day at a CE meeting in Roanoke, then the vortex of the weekend gathering to prepare for. And from now til Monday, I’ll kick myself for not getting to done on this. Heck.

But a bit of good news: The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Virtual Bookstore now stocks and sells Slow Road Home! Here is the press release just posted to their site yesterday. Many thanks to Joe and others who helped make this happen, and I hope the book warrants the virtual shelf space and doesn’t collect virtual dust. So okay now readers, it’s up to you. (And by the way, if you wanted to order more than one copy and pay by credit card, THIS would be the way, as my PayPal button on the book website is set up only for a single purchase.)

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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. Congratulations on getting “shelf space” on the Parkway. We know how long you have hankered for that!! Well done, Fred!!!!

  2. Yesterday I received your packet of cards that I ordered, Fred, and they are lovely, as I knew they would be. Thanks for the prompt delivery!