Green Fields of Home

This is the part of summer I can be happy with. The mornings are cool, the days not consistently too warm, and there are still vestiges of spring yet in the growing things–vigorous but not yet rank. To get across the pasture means taking the mowed path or being resigned to getting soaking wet and/or covered in grass pollen and shed flower parts.

On the one hand, I’d be happy for our neighbor to come get the hay while it is at its peak. On the other, I do enjoy wading out in the waist-high pasture of a morning stalking the spiders who have no idea what beauty they create in their hunger and stealth.

In the evenings, headless deer eyes shine back at us from the tall grass, bodies hidden as if under water.

This obscuring submersion in timothy and bluestem is a way of hiding babies, too–spotted fawns and turkey chicks. The dog smells the nursery across the road the minute we let him out. We’ve pulled him off wildlife babies already a time or two.

Fecundity: the summer benefits we get for the cost of the heat.

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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. Gorgeous photos. I grew up in Loundon County and these remind me so much of “home”. I can feel the air, smell the mown hay and hear the birds and crickets!