When I was a kid, there was a spring on my friend Andy’s farm. Right in the middle of the front pasture. We used to spend hours and days playing in it, damming the water and drinking right from the source where it bubbled up out of the ground in a patch of wild watercress. There was nothing better tasting than a long drink from a country spring on a hot day.
Today, that spring doesn’t run. It probably fell victim to falling water tables from surrounding development and the growing use of agricultural irrigation.
50 years ago, most people got their water right from the ground, and most kids in the country probably had the experience of taking a drink right from a spring. Today it’s almost unthinkable. Too few springs. Too much pollution. Too many people. We’re conditioned to be afraid of what is in the water, and often with good reason.
That’s probably part of the reason why I love this spot in the mountains of Virginia where they meet North Carolina. There is a spring on the side of the mountain where the water bubbles right up out of the rocks. Its about a 3 mile hike from a trailhead in Grayson Highlands State Park. There isn’t a house within miles, and you can lean in and drink right from the source.
I took my daughter here a few years ago for the first time. I took a drink. She looked skeptical, but I finally convinced her to give it a try. She drank long. She smiled. I wonder what she will tell her kids.