This past Saturday I took the kayak to Diascund Creek Reservoir in Lanexa, Virginia, just a few miles west of Williamsburg. Though this was hardly my first visit, it was the first time I have been there in almost 40 years. When I was growing up my father would take us there on weekends to fish, explore the woods, ride dirt bikes, play with the dogs and sleep on bunk beds listening to whip-poor-wills. I am really grateful he gave me the opportunity, and it is a real shame that most children today do not have a chance to spend unstructured time out-of-doors. It was a different world then, and a different place as well. To get to his hunting club's cabin you had to go down a dusty dirt road where there were few if any houses. The soils in this part of Virginia had long ago been exhausted, and the area was mostly forest with a few abandoned houses and fallow fields sprinkled in, great places for boys to run wild.
The reservoir is one of the primary water sources for the city of Newport News, and was built by cutting down the forest and damming several adjacent creeks. 40 years ago it was still very evident there had once been a forest there, as stumps covered the bottom of the lake, but I saw little of that on my recent trip. The water is full of fish and very clean, in fact, if you have enjoyed any Anheuser-Busch products, you may have been drinking a small part of the Diascund. I was not surprised to see homes on the lake Saturday, but I was pleased there were so few of them, and most of the shoreline was still wooded. However, the road to the old cabin is paved now and lined with homes, all but one or two displaying a united front in their preferences for the outcome in the upcoming election. I felt very out of place, and not that I have any rights in the matter, but it felt like an intrusion on my memories.
Despite 40 year's worth of changes, Diascund is still a haven for wildlife, perhaps more so. I saw river otters, several bald eagles, kingfishers, herons, jumping bass and my second pileated woodpecker in less than a month. I know they are now something slightly less than wild, but as I was leaving, wave upon wave of Canada geese descended noisily into the water. Their numbers were in the several hundreds.
Altered memories aside, it was a very good morning.