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.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Hundreds Will Join 20th Annual Butterfly Count August 6

spring garden butterfly

By Andrea Gaines How Is a Butterfly Like a Rainbow? Scientists recently discovered that some butterfly wings contain tiny structures called gyroids that diffract or break up light into the colors of the spectrum. You may also have seen this …

Your Retirement Plan B

Smith0035

Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected. Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is …

Learning Patience As a Camp Counselor

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde They say that one of the biggest blessings is being a teacher. It is also one of the hardest. Explaining to nine-year-old kids how to build a fire is one of the most challenging things I’ve …

Remembering the Man Who Never Forgot

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “God is God because He remembers.” The implication being that the defining element separating humans from God is the Divine’s inability to forget. Elie Wiesel was defined in part by his willingness to remember, along with his …

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Balch Library

Thomas Balch Library

By Tim Jon Solitude, peace, and quiet: Not exactly the first three adjectives I’d choose to describe the greater portion of downtown Leesburg, although its charms do shine through even on the busiest of weekday afternoons. The last morning I …

Superforecasting a Book Review

noerpel_new

The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their …

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

Michael_Pic

Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

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

buckland

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

adamspromoted

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)

Calendar

August 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
August 1, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 2, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 3, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 4, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 5, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 6, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

OysterFest & Roussanne Release!

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Doug Parks

August 7, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 8, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 9, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 10, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 11, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 12, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 13, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 14, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 15, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 16, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 17, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 18, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 19, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 20, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

Live Music: Stealing Dawn

August 21, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

August 22, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

AUDITIONS

August 23, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 24, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 25, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 26, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 27, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Fabulous Hubcaps

August 28, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 29, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 30, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 31, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

September 1, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 2, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 3, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Snaggy Mountain Boys

September 4, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Winchester Plans Patsy Cline Music Festival Labor Day Weekend

11 Aug 2016

Patsy Cline

The Patsy Cline Music Festival will be held Labor Day weekend in her hometown of Winchester, Va. in honor of the legendary singer’s birthday anniversary on September. 8. Celebrating Patsy Cline sponsors the celebration that begins with a block party from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St. Music will …

(Be the first to comment)

Vigil for Lost Promise to Remember Loved Ones Lost to Drugs

11 Aug 2016

sheriff

Residents and local leaders are encouraged to join the many families, friends and community groups to share the light of their loved ones lost to drugs. The Vigil for Lost Promise will be held Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Drugs: Cost and Consequences Exhibit (DEA Museum), located at 750 Miller Dr. …

(Be the first to comment)

August Is National Peach Month: Eat a Peach in Salad

3 Aug 2016

peach

Are You Kidding? No. A nectarine and a peach are basically the same species. Nectarines are bald peaches, in effect. In early cultivation, nectarines occasionally appeared on peach trees, the result of a recessive allele, the fruit from which were then cultivated as nectarines. Peaches are also part of the rose family. No wonder why we like all three, so …

(Be the first to comment)

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

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 …

Op-ed

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

blueridge2.jpg

– 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

blueridge2.jpg

– 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

Lessons from Short Hill

shorthillmeeting

It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

Thank You

speak

Dear Citizens of Purcellville: As your town council member it is my vision and priority that you feel welcome at your Town Hall and take part in shaping Purcellville’s future …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Around Virginia

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

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)

State Senators Investigate University of Virginia’s $2.3 Billion Operating Surplus

Uva-logo

Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) and Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach), are calling for an investigation into disclosures that the University of Virginia has accumulated a $2.3 billion operating surplus, now titled a “Strategic Investment Fund,” that is significantly larger than the Commonwealth’s own cash reserves. Both senators agree that the …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016

baseball

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)

Registration Open For Ida Lee’s Fall NFL Flag Football

7 Jul 2016

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Ida Lee’s Fall 2016 NFL Flag Football League will begin with player evaluations on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.  Players must be registered by Tuesday, July 26, to participate. This fall, Ida Lee’s Leesburg NFL Flag Football House League will have the following age groups:  6-7; 8-9; 10-11; …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

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