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.








The Holocene Climate


(Public Input Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, 7 March, 2017) Figure 1 shows the climate variation over the last million years. The low points on the curve correspond to ice ages when glaciers up to a mile thick covered New …

Choosing To Forgive


By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Truly forgiving is the ability to say, ‘Thank you for giving me that experience.’” James Arthur Ray vaulted into fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in the mid-2000’s. Stunned hearing these words while watching The Rise and …

Five Key Retirement Questions


Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role …

Work Woes


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, I’m a manager at a large tech company and my boss has directed me to fire someone on my team, but as a Christian, I just can’t do it. It’s true that the employee …

Joy or Suffering

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde No one likes to suffer. When given the chance, many people would choose to laugh rather than cry, to sit in silence with their friends rather than talk through their feelings, because not even their friends …

Wage Radio


I will always remember – very fondly – the first time I ever set foot on the property at 711 Wage Drive Southwest in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a warm, sunny July morning in 1997, and I’d driven all the …

Speaking Truth to Power


“With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln On Thursday evening, February 23, I requested the Board of Supervisors pass a proclamation resolving to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22 [1]. …

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)


March 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017


March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017 March 12, 2017
March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend
March 19, 2017

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale
March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017

March Fourth Friday

March Fourth Friday
March 25, 2017 March 26, 2017

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Constitutionally protected speech is exactly what it sounds like, protected. We all have the legal right to utter nonsensical and...
  • Martha on Protecting Free Speech: Free speech is not a cherished right at the not-quite accredited Patrick Henry College, a religious school that Del. LaRock...
  • Martha Polkey on First Look at Envision Loudoun Results: It remains to be seen whether the direction citizens have provided to the Envision process is actually incorporated into the...
  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Mr. LaRock, I assume that the only reason you weren’t at every School Board meeting in 2005 passionately defending the...
  • LongTimePville on Purcellville Emergency Meeting Postponed to March 10: I bet Kelli Grim flip flops on her conflicts of interest and transparency campaign she ran on and does not...

Steady and NoBull


Loudoun Workforce Resource Center Presents STEM Career Fair March 28

16 Mar 2017

Illustration of STEM education word typography design in orange theme with icon ornament elements

Anyone interested in a career in the rapidly growing field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is encouraged to attend an upcoming STEM Career Fair in Loudoun. The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)’s Loudoun campus and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, is holding a STEM Career Fair Tuesday, March 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 …

(Be the first to comment)

Keep Loudoun Beautiful—Greater Lovettsville Area Volunteers Needed

16 Mar 2017

Lovettsville Boat Launch 7-26-09

The Keep Loudoun Beautiful spring clean-up takes place the entire month of April and greater Lovettsville needs volunteers. Bags, vests, gloves and grabbers are available at the Lovettsville Community Center during normal business hours, Monday-Friday. This is a great group or individual activity that can be scheduled around your availability. E-mail Lovettsville Area Leader, Laura Lieberman, for details and to …

(Be the first to comment)

National Awkward Moments Day

8 Mar 2017


?Laughing at Yourself Is the Best Medicine No one knows who invented National Awkward Moments Day, Saturday, March 18. That’s no surprise, since it probably came about as the result of one stunningly awkward moment that the owner of that moment was hoping to forget. We surveyed our readers and friends to ask them about their most awkward moments, sharing …

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

Protecting Free Speech


By Dave LaRock (R-33) As elected officials and members of the legislature, our most fundamental responsibility is to protect God-given constitutionally protected rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government, including governmental public colleges and universities, from infringing on free speech and the free exercise of …


Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

(Be the first to comment)

Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

(Be the first to comment)


Vikings Runner-Up at the State Championship 

8 Mar 2017


The Loudoun Valley Vikings are the boy’s runner-up at the VHSL 4A State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Roanoke College.  During the 2015-2016 school year, the Loudoun County School Board approved Indoor Track and Field as a Tier 2 (self-funded) sport.  The seven boys competing scored 48 points, second …

(Be the first to comment)

WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017


The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

(Be the first to comment)


  • +2017
  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009