Sunday, November 4, 2012

History Lesson

"Do you want to hold it?" asked Jim Lewis, our tour guide. "You might need both hands."

And with that he passed me a 12-pound cannonball that, yes, was easier to hold with two hands than with one.

Lewis is a member of the Hunter Mill Defense League, which sounds like some sort of retro radical 60s organization but is actually a group of citizens formed to protect and defend the lovely, historic and oft-threatened (by development and widening) Hunter Mill Road.

Lewis and colleagues have bushwacked their way through the rolling hills of western Fairfax County, discovering old road beds, abandoned millraces and confederate earthworks, cannonballs and former camp sites. Now they're sharing their knowledge through lectures, booklets and the occasional tour.

Yesterday's four-hour jaunt delivered more information and ideas than I could possibly capture in a single post.  Like the cannonball, it was a lot to handle. It gave me a plethora of ways to see this land I live in. A place of history and of depth. 

(Jim Lewis and cannonball near the Confederate earthworks he found in the woods behind his backyard.)

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