Greener Pastures

Autumn Meadow before a late Summer Storm
Autumn Meadow before a late Summer Storm

Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s the darker mornings, the falling leaves, the morning news. Maybe it’s all of that together that makes melancholy.

Finding images like this one–especially at full resolution where the detail puts the observer in the time-place space again–is just where I go to when everything seems gray and flat and joyless.

They used to talk about women going out to buy a new hat when they were down in the dumps. Nobody wears hats anymore. What do folks do these days to distract themselves, at one extreme, indulged people not be able to take on another single toy, garden or time-sucking bit of tinsel; at the other, people without enough for basic necessities, much less pleasure-inducing unnecessaries.

Okay, I’m supposed to show you some more mushrooms, but it will have to wait until the other side of patients and paperwork that lie just ahead–and this, the chief source of my dread of the day. Got to get my head in the game. Got to.

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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. I too have been so blue recently Fred – this time if year is a factor but I wonder – seeing the fall I feel my own – I see the vegetation looking tattered and un vital – there is death in the air – and now with my kids married… I also feel tired – I don’t mean sleepy – Can I keep going like this for another 10 or 15 years? Like the property, I don’t seem to have it in me?

    So what is a 60 year old to do? Clint Eastwood is still making great films at nearly 80! Bill Shatner is 77!

    Any ideas Fred?

  2. Beautiful pic! So many shades of green, even in the shadows of the storm clouds roiling overhead.
    It’s an interesting time of year. Change on the doorstep. I must admit that I feel invigorated and hopeful. I am so DONE with the bake-oven heat of my locale… the dry, dusty, yellow countryside. Yep, bring on the cooler autumn air, the bright yellow leaves and the orange pumpkins. I printed a scrumptious sounding pumpkin cheesecake recipe today to have at the ready.