Home » Columns »Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth » Currently Reading:

Bull Run

April 4, 2012 by Tim Jon filed under Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth No Comments
road 2

Private air strips, horse farms, rows of town-homes, run-down (or fallen down) shacks, foreboding ‘troops’ of evergreens, quarries, road construction: all of these strewn helter-skelter upon the landscape, sometimes adjacent to one another, creating a world gone mad. An apt scene for a yet-to-be-made David Lynch movie. This was my dream. This was my nightmare.

Oh, it all started so innocently, way back then. See, I had thought about this place for almost 15 years, ever since (or maybe even before) I’d moved to Loudoun County; I’d been curiously drawn to that southeastern tip and all it had to offer – lying so close to the Historic Manassas National Battlefield – you know, the Battle of Bull Run – even us Northerners’d heard of that. It must be a pretty special place- somehow enshrined for my visiting pleasure. I’d pictured a serene little stream, carefully en-shouldered by its pristine, manicured banks, the whole vision made complete by perhaps a wayside rest adjacent to the (it simply had to be) carefully tended, historic bridge spanning the ‘hallowed ground.’

But, in reality – ahhhhhh, not so much. What I found, in the semi-shrouded darkness of a frozen pre-dawn morning, was two-lane traffic barreling down on me from both directions, signs indicating not only private property, but promises of defense by firearm if I so much as stepped out of my vehicle at one of the adjacent lots.

My instincts told me to ‘can it’ and get the heck out of Dodge, but I spied a level patch of roadside grass a few yards up the way – with just enough turn-off space to safely miss the speeding trucks and cars. My parking accommodations featured what appeared to be a drainage ditch (maybe it was actually designed to house conduit for high-tech communications cables?) running parallel to the road – ending in a sort of delta of eroded soil sporadically filled with some very unfriendly-looking boulders – looking oddly out of place among the sandy earth and the good, old, reddish, Virginia clay. This roughly two-by-two foot trench abruptly ended a half-dozen yards or so to my left, having come down the hill toward the stream – only to kind of peter out into a washed-out morass of uninviting mud – now frozen hard as the accompanying rocks. An image worthy of one of HP Lovecraft’s stories. Even the boulders were playing tricks.

It was still early enough for a half-moon to look down on all this, as well as the familiar sight of a string of telephone poles and wires, also running parallel to the roadway – headed for the creek of my dreams. I couldn’t imagine what the morning commuters must have thought of my presence here- some insomniac nut with a camera – in the middle of this!

“Go home and enjoy your day off, for Pete’s sake!”

The thing is: I was enjoying my day off. That is, I would have been, had I found the actual Tip o’ the County to be anything like that of my fantasy of the place. As it was, I felt just a little bit cheated – having driven 20 miles in early-morning rush-hour traffic along Evergreen Mills and Gum Spring Roads. I was even sidetracked by a wrong turn- ending up along the God-neglected (if not forsaken) Ticonderoga Road, with its spray-painted ‘signery’ and man-made mountain of muck- all this presented for my viewing pleasure, of course. It was not to be a ‘day at the beach,’ so to speak.

I got the impression, on my trip down to this site, that some of the land owners had won their property through some nameless act of violence- or perhaps in a card game. If ever the word ‘ramshackle’ would apply to the overall (and specific) landscape features, it’d be here. The wilderness appeared to have not easily given up its sovereignty over the land: pine, cedar and other unidentified evergreens crowded close to the corridors of the roadways, and earth was piled high in places of earlier skirmishes with bulldozer, dump truck and caterpillar.

But, these man-made behemoths were nowhere to be seen. Like the dinosaurs which had come before, these monsters had also retreated, but left their effects upon the land. All grist for the mill of my visionary experience.

So, here was I, standing at the roadside at 7 am, in 20 degree temperatures, with a camera, looking for appropriate images for a nice, cuddly, enjoy-your-tea-and-cookies kind of story; what I actually witnessed, however, is that sometimes- just every so often in our lives – the Big Tour Guide in the sky plays us a carefully crafted, snidely sarcastic, very practical joke. He knew that I’d dreamed of this place for over a decade; He knew that I already had images in my mind which would be suitable for such a reassuring, warm-hearted, good-for-the-soul kind of story.

Well, I found lemons in the ‘Loudoun County Places’ aisle at my grocery store, so I made some literary lemonade. Hope you were thirsty.

Comment on this article

By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.” Where will you live as you age? Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016


Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016


Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)


October 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

November 6, 2016
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull


Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

(Be the first to comment)

FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

(Be the first to comment)

Painted Barrel Auction Saturday, October 8

6 Oct 2016


The Auction for The Painted Barrels around Purcellville will be held on Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m at the Bush Tabernacle – 250 S. Nursery Ave. Purcellville. Thirty-Five local Loudoun County artists were given an oak wine barrel to create a Purcellville / Loudoun theme on it. Each barrel was sponsored by a local business and was displayed throughout …

(Be the first to comment)


Grief and Greed


By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …


Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!


– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West


– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall


The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

(Be the first to comment)

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

(Be the first to comment)

Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana


Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

(Be the first to comment)


Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

(Be the first to comment)

Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

(Be the first to comment)


  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009