Headwaters / One

Goose Creek two miles from its source
Goose Creek two miles from its source

Our late autumn features water–usually just enough, occasionally far too much too quickly, or in its frozen state–beautiful to observe as ice ornaments along the creek or a soft snow settled on every branch, but stress-hormone-producing to drive in. The last serious drought for us was 2002 and 2003–when Goose Creek went completely, totally, fish-less dry.

The last hard rain we had (two days ago) fell on frozen ground, so it didn’t sink in to replenish the ground water, but rose rapidly in surface streams, causing local flooding in places, but not so much here.

So we’ll let Headwaters be the photo-theme this week, this shot taken down the road between home and the hardtop. The next day after I took this shot, when the rains fell hard on frozen soil, the volume of flow was so great that you could not see these rocks or even much of a drop for the flow of (somewhat muddy) water. I hate to see muddy water, since it means more of our topsoil is bound to become lake sediment behind a dam somewhere. Probably not much of it gets as far as a river delta opening into the sea, as few of our rivers run unobstructed by impoundments.

The average American’s indoor water use is about 69 gallons of water per day.  Calculate your water footprint here.

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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. Beautiful photograph. It leads me to wonder: how much Photoshop manipulation is needed to get everything so beautifully exposed?

  2. My local color pallet is beginning to align with yours on Goose Creek. After our overnight freeze and snow flurries on the 4th and 5th, we have fallen into a late winter coloration here too.

    The weather outside since then has been warm with lots of precipitation…Some even coming down as rain. But mostly it’s been fog and mists for days and days…Looking like winter even as the temperatures have hovered in the 60’s and the 70’s most days.

  3. Everything is buried in snow up here in the north. In the Spring when 5 five of snow melts in less than a month the rivers are gorged with water.

    What a lovely photograph. I really like the color tones. This photo has a real sense of texture as well.

    Thanks Floyd-a wonderful post.