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.

Toxic Economic Assumptions Drive Climate Chaos

You and I can replace our light bulbs and shop local and recycle and reuse and even conserve energy and natural resources like a champ. But if we don’t change the drivers that churn Earth matter into profit as fast as possible (the Growth Economy/Consumption Machine model) — and in so doing,  consider corporate shareholders’ […]

A Season To Be Mired in Quicksand

To everything there is a season, we are told: A time for effective and meaningful engagement in  a full life; and a time to be mired up to your acetabulum in an unending, onerous, complex, emotionally draining and impossible slog through quicksand. There is a time for effortless, natural progression from passion to passion; and […]

Now Who Gets My Last Corn Flake?

There goes the daily squirrel, passing under the window beyond my desk. He was always at such risk, and knew it: tentative, uncertain, hesitant. Gandy was always watching. But this morning, as if he knew he no longer had to fear the eyes tracking him from the house, he is casual. He stops on the […]

Gandy, Going, Gone

Gandy is gone as of an hour ago, after seven years and four months. That’s a lot of dog years, and they were good ones. She had an enchanted life on Goose Creek after being a rescue puppy that could have ended up anywhere, and in not such expansive wilderness with two creeks! Think trailer […]

Plate is Full, Blog is Empty

I made the mistake a few weeks back of saying I hoped to be doubling down on efforts to apply the brake to the creening path of humanity towards the brink–as if one person can make a difference; and yet… One person can be a bystander or can give aid at the scene of a […]

SustainFloyd Offers the Personal Climate Pledge

SustainFloyd’s Personal Climate Pledge asks YOU to be intentional about what you eat, drive, wear and throw away. I post it here for the couple of Fragments readers who might stop by. Some of you have seen/heard this on Facebook from WVTF starting yesterday. Robbie Harris put together a piece showcasing the Personal Climate Pledge […]

Take It to the Limit One More Time

Planet Earth has always operated within limits–almost like an organism. But too there have been “accidents” that overwhelmed natural processes and created eons of disorder. Runaway climate shifts of the past carried the land or sea beyond a state where life-as-usual could go on. Volcanoes erupted, continents smashed together, or a stray meteorite created a […]