“Roanoke Summer Midnight,” by Eric Robert Nolan

“Roanoke Summer Midnight”

Its midnight moon is newly minted coin —
a white-hot silver obol
forged in burning phosphorus.
The crisping clouds around it blacken.

Its silhouetted mountains
are great blue gods at slumber
the faded-haze azure horizon’s
giants in the dim.

Those slopes have known a billion bones of hares
that raced upon them other midnights, then,
pausing, one by one,
drawing up their downy legs at last to final sleep.

Where the Shenandoahs’ driving
beryl falls to black,
aquamarine to onyx,
lay legions of hares — generations resting.
There are the hills where ivory
rabbits sleep among gods.

Ahead and under moonlight
the curving rural road obscures its end.
At right, an intersecting well-lit modern block
confuses the curling topography.
The fresh and symmetrical asphalt’s angle
mars the winding thoroughfare with order:
a ninety-degree anachronism.

That new and perfect subdivision
affronts the corner’s antebellum chimney,
broken down to stones and overrun in lavender
— its lilac colors driven plum by sunset.
That last century’s smokestack
was itself effrontery once
to the formless places where natives stayed
their only edifice the stars,
their only currency the blinding coin of moon.

Eyeing, then, the summits’ crowning cobalt
driving down in royal blue to coal,
I hope to one day take my rest
there, in the darkening indigo,
alongside giants,
among white rabbits in myriad easy stillness,

to pause myself at last and sleep beneath
what meadows stretch in cerulean dark,
where hares will race like moon-kissed silver,
or comets of darting pearl.

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2017



Photo credit: By Jessie Eastland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Roanoke, Virginia, June 2017

If you look closely at the third photo, you can see a helicopter beginning an ascent from the top of Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  Evidently, the facility’s landing pad is at the top of its cylindrical section.  It kept landing and returning the day I took this photo; I’m guessing that a pilot was either training or practicing.




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You’re going to fawn over these pictures I just took.

Or maybe not.  They’re a good deal blurrier than I’d hoped.

I encountered this lost little lady about an hour ago.  She was between a rock and a hard place — the fence and the adjacent road.

I did the best that I could to help her.  (Hey, if there is a human who knows what it’s like to be lost and confused in Roanoke, it’s me.)

But my assistance didn’t amount to much.  The best I could do was wave at oncoming cars and point out the deer to them.  (She kept wandering into the road in desperation.  At one point an SUV almost hit her … she collapsed and clattered to the street in fear, and, trust me, that is one heartbreaking sound).  I’m not sure what more I could have done; I’m no Deer Whisperer.

Anyway, a pair of pretty girls showed up in a jeep and cheerfully assured me that they would take it from here.  They sounded pretty confident, and they seemed like Roanoke natives who were well-versed in country ways.  (They had a jeep.)

Either the fawn is now fine, or someone’s serving venison extra tender tonight.



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WTF am I hearing right now?

That sounds like a 70-pound cricket, hopped up on steroids, with cybernetic enhancements that electronically distort its voice.

That is NOT one of God’s creatures.

Why must you harbor such strange fauna, Roanoke?

I gotta get audio of this.

[Update: Internet user Jen M. helpfully provided me with the below image to assuage my apprehension.  (Thanks, Jen.)  Some trivia — Jen tells me that’s actually a still from “The Beginning of the End,” the film that MST3K expertly lampoons with Crow’s Peter Graves impression.]






Things are getting harey in Roanoke.

Yeah, these guys are everywhere.  As a Roanoke alumbud dryly observed, they multiply like rabbits.

Say what you want about my photography skills, but I think that second shot of the little guy mid-leap is pretty neat.

There is a tiny brown bunny who keeps approaching my door, but racing away whenever I open it.  I haven’t figured out that yet.  He’s like a Mormon with a social anxiety disorder.


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Downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, June 2017

My Fredricksbud declined my offer to bring him an Official City of Roanoke, Virginia, commemorative mug.  (You’d figure those things would be in higher demand.)  So I brought him a … fidget spinner!!!  There it is, below … fidgety-spinning, I guess.  All jokes aside?  The allure of these (surprisingly pricey) fad toys is entirely lost on me.  That thing entertained me for less than two minutes.  (And it is generally agreed upon that I have the mind of a child.)




Falmouth Bridge heading west into downtown.



George Street looking north to Caroline Street.



Caroline Street.  I must say that the entire town looks far better than when I last spent a lot of time here in 1995.  There are more and better stores, and the downtown area even looks better maintained.  Of course, the mid-1990’s economy wasn’t doing so well.

Pictured below is Goolrick’s Drugs.





The reopened Sammy T’s!


Looking west up Hanover Street from Caroline Street.


At Benny Vitali’s on Caroline Street.  The pizzas and individual slices there are twice the normal size.  It seems like a decent marketing device; how many Mary Washington College students wouldn’t want to order a giant pizza?  The pizza is cheap and damned good too.



A mural on Sophia Street.




The corner of William Street and Princess Anne Street, heading west.



The Confederate Cemetery (and Fredericksburg City Cemetery) as seen from Washington Avenue.  My apologies for including this — for some reason, I’ve always really liked speeding car shots.