Why do I have a weird thing about rainswept tunnels?

No Freudians need respond.


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Northern Virginia Rainstorm, August 2016

I took this video a year ago today.  It seems like another age.  So much has happened between then and now.  It’s feels surreal how our perceptions of time can be so subjective.

This was one hell of storm.  Summer thunderstorms in Southwest Virginia seem absolutely commonplace.  It is an extraordinary experience watching them roll in over the mountains, each of them a rapid fog ragnarok — and then moving on just as swiftly.

I don’t think I’ve seen a storm around Roanoke yet that can match the wet armageddon below, though.



Throwback Thursday: Mary Washington College Spring Break 1994!

This is a shot of me and my alum Dave at the site of the “Lost Colony of Roanoke” during Spring Break 1994.  A bunch of the seniors at Mary Washington College’s New Hall trekked down to North Carolina’s Outer Banks that year; this is one of the places we stopped along the way.

Dear God, that was one of the most enjoyable trips of my life.

What the hell were Dave and I doing below?   Performing a skit?  I can’t remember.  I was a really, really weird kid, and Dave was also pretty out there.




The buzz around Roanoke.

This is a terrible picture, but … you see those tall, dark shapes ascending from the high, bare branches like grotesque, upright fruit?  Those would be buzzards.

Or … turkey vultures.  To be honest, I don’t know if there is any difference between turkey vultures and buzzards.  I’m from New York.


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“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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