End of a Full Year

Let’s see: since late November…

Fragments Notecards files to printer; Reunion in Mobile; Thanksgiving; Winery book signings x 4 days; Wytheville Rotary; two Floyd Press columns; book cover and interior text revisions complete and sent off; NPR essay recorded; cover and text files to Lightning Source; Dec 17 massive gathering on Goose Creek; book proof for second edition arrives 23 Dec; Christmas Day; POD files approved; eBook briefly considered; kids home with us two days; and the kids just left in two sad waves, and the house is silent, be it ever so jumbled, and I am left to consider a new year just the other side of the weekend.

Somehow, instead of being overwhelmed, I am invigorated.

To have had reinforced time and again these past four weeks how immensely blessed I am in my children, my wife, my home, my county and these times in my life has left me energized. While hate and destruction seem to dominate the larger world, with my health and senses and the few things I know how to do and feel compelled to do, to photograph and to say, I can be a force for good, a channel to the beautiful and meaningful in this tiny corner of the world, a light in a dark place.

We all can–can swim against the current of our times, rise above the swells. Hope floats, I hear. This moment, I feel buoyant. And thankful.

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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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