Dark Morning

Ladybug metaphors–buzzing chitinous aggravations in the morning, first thing when the desk lamp suddenly becomes their sun.

I’ve put  a coffee cup with an inch of water and a few drops of detergent by my keyboard–more specifically near the lamp that draws the clumsy flying orange freckles that become black holes against my monitor, land in my hair, crash into the crevases of the numeric keypad.

There’s some satisfaction in wetting a finger (different one each time because these creatures leave a smell and taste when disturbed) lifting then dropping them one by one to do the backstroke in the Yellow Mug of Doom.

Hounds. Somewhere in the dark pasture. I’ll walk the dog on the leash later and hope these disembodied Baskervillians stay far off, no dog to dog beyond shared scent sprinklings at the same important clump of pasture grass. Tsuga will bristle with razorback fur.

Full moon flashes cryptic, code against barn roof. Tattered clouds scurry past pulled apart, strobe-lightning too brief to walk by, dark-blind. Wind on the ridge blows no good, the world on edge, I go into the cold to know, the message masked in dark light dark and the moan of blown branches.

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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. the call of the wild…. your sentiments echo things that have been stirring in me, too. do you think it’s that nature pulls our thoughts in that direction…. our is it responding to us? or maybe both.

  2. What a poetic post, Fred. I love the imagery, especially in the last paragraph. Like all good poetry, it brought the image of the dark morning readily to my mind and evoked an unsettled feeling in my spirit.

  3. Feels like springtime stirring in your part of the world, Fred. Alas, we still have a long long way to go – I feel like I’m living in the Himalayas – this is truly an abode of snow.