Lexington, Virginia

I’ve been working in Lexington, Virginia yesterday and today.

The town is quaint and lovely, with streets way too narrow for the SUV boat the rental car company made us take. It’s sleepy, in a winter-in-the-South kind of way.

We wondered at the quiet. Of course, most people here are still traumatized by the Snowpocalypse that became Snowmaggedon. They’re staying inside. Mounds of snow still frown from the ends of parking lots, warning the complacent. People ask us, did you hear we got a lot of snow?

I finally told one guy, that’s the beauty of you guys living on the East Coast — you can just assume the rest of the country knows your news. For a week, all I heard about was Snowpocalypse.

Then they sheepishly ask if us Westerners laugh at them. I had to say, yes, yes we do. But I added that we also understand that they’re ill-equipped. I guess that makes it a sympathy laugh?

The town is nearly silent, both day and night, but Lexington is home to both Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute, so it seems this little hamlet should be teeming with young people, dashing about, doing their higher ed thing. My colleague and I decided that the VMI kids probably don’t get to dash about doing frivolous things. We finally glimpsed them today: the track teams out, running the sidewalks in earnest muscularity. One trio of young men ran past the snowbanks in shorts, flashing their sculpted thighs. My colleague sardonically commented that some people can have legs like that just by being young, much less by running.

I just enjoyed the scenery. Is that so wrong?

Turns out it’s Washington Break at WLU, which explains their lack of presence in the community. No, no — it totally doesn’t matter that they have their own self-named break. Amusingly, the school is named for both George Washington, who gave the original bequest to the school, and for Robert E. Lee, who was president of it. Revolutionary and Civil wars come together.

I’m wondering when Lee Break is. Fall, right?

Yes, we drove around and read the informative historical signs, since the sun was out and we finished meetings while we could see the town in natural light. We did not go see, despite the urgings of a surprising number of people, the gravesite of Stonewall Jackson’s horse.

But I like to think this funky balcony support is a tribute to that brave steed.

Besides, my favorite time of year is Horse Break!