A Nip in the Air

Silo and old barn on the edge of town.


(to start of project)

Fall snuck up on me this year. Maybe I was just too busy to see it coming. There’s a heavy frost due in the morning. Geese mutter in the corn stubble. Continue reading “A Nip in the Air”

MASCF Part 3 ~ A Parade of Sail

”Marianne,” one of the Museum’s Log Canoes


(to start of project)

How do you get a hundred or so independent-minded skippers to sail their boats in a tight formation in the same general direction for a few miles?

Tell them it’s a race. Continue reading “MASCF Part 3 ~ A Parade of Sail”

Warm Inside



Big snow storm tonight. Took two hours to get home, and Terri is still stuck in town, staying with friends.

It’s already deeper than the dogs. Emily is outside with them, and they bound through it like antelope, or burrow like groundhogs. I can hear her laughing in the dark.

It will fall through the night and into tomorrow.

A good night to be warm inside by the fire.

We’ll have a White Christmas.




More Scottsville

Maple Grove, Scottsville



Some in the yard, and Route 6, Irish Road, just west of town. Route 6 runs all the way up into the mountains, through the Rockfish Valley, then up and through Rockfish Gap. On the way, it winds through apple orchards, along streams, past log cabins in quiet coves, lots of farmland and forests and a few small crossroad villages. Continue reading “More Scottsville”

Rockfish River

Rockfish River above Schuyler



Rockfish Gap has been a natural gateway through the mountains for thousands of years, Once travelled by Indians and wildlife along a footpath from the coastal plain to the Ohio Valley, today a highway, four roads, two railroad lines, and the Appalachian Trail all converge on this spot. Black Bears still follow the route as they move from one valley to another, lumbering along on the shoulder of the road like pedestrians. The Blue Ridge Parkway begins here, heading south, as does Skyline Drive, going north. From the crest of the ridge there’s a view that stretches for 20 miles down the Rockfish Valley, and it’s one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. As many times as I pass through there, my heart still hurts when I see it. The Gap and the Valley both are named for the Rockfish River that winds below, and it’s astonishing to think the entire view was created by that little stream, small enough to throw a stone across. Continue reading “Rockfish River”


Mr. Cheek’s Pond


The Cheeks’ place is a few doors down, across from the old Presbyterian cemetery. They have a small pond between the hay field and the house, and it’s lined with trees. Neighborhood boys like to fish there in the summer. There’s a Tupelo Gum on the bank that, for a few mornings every fall, catches fire when the sun burns off the mist.




Cocke’s Mill

South Branch, Hardware River, along

The Plank Road runs west from Keene toward the mountains. It was a toll road, and the original toll house still stands, a private residence now. It’s a very old road, once paved in wooden boards, and along it teams of oxen rolled huge hogshead barrels and cartloads of good from over in the Shenandoah Valley, coming down the switchbacks through Rockfish Gap. Continue reading “Cocke’s Mill”