Gravity and The Flow of Things

image copyright Fred First
I left the feet of the tripod unmoved on the sandy bar beside Nameless Creek where yesterday’s image was taken. Turned ninety degrees, the lens pointed downstream to follow the flow of spring water south. Just beyond where the creek disappears in the middle of this image, it will curve gently to the left following the edge of the pasture back toward the house, then on north and east to join first Goose Creek before passing across our neighbor’s place, then Bottom Creek just beyond the Floyd County line. Together, they form the South Fork of the Roanoke River.

Crossing our little creek in my green rubber boots today, I stepped in water that last night seeped through dark crevices in bedrock underground. And a week from now, that same water will flow into the salty Atlantic by way of the James.

Having creeks in our back yard makes me feel a part of this predictable and regular cycle and of never-the-same-river transience and change. I can sit on the creek bank and think on these things for a half hour a few times each week and never tire of it. Where does it come from? Where does it go: time, memory, and Nameless Creek?


About fred

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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