Another spring is here. It is my best time of year, Spring is the time of rebirth. It is like the earth waking from a long winter's nap
In spring the air is still cool and crisp. The trees are starting to grow their leaves and bud, such as the dogwoods. The flowers come out in all of there splendid beauty.
In the spring, when I was younger, I would oil my old baseball glove and get ready for another summer of baseball. Growing up in Southeast Washington was like growing up almost in the country.
After what seemed like a long season of school and being stuck in the house due to the cold weather I looked forward to the great outdoors. I loved to walk and explore. Each year it seemed there was always a new challenge.
One of my favorite walks was behind a shopping center that sat just across the district line in Maryland. The area was woody and swampy. The path followed a creek that led to the Anacostia River. From the bank of the river you could look to your left down stream. Off in the distance you could see the mouth of the river as it emptied into the Potomac River.
According to the park service The Anacostia River flows from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. to its mouth at the Potomac River near downtown Washington. Its watershed encompasses 176 square miles and contains 13 sub-watersheds in southeast Washington, D.C. and Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland.
It was in the mid 1950s, long time before the big build up. Now there is Route 395 as well as some government buildings along the site. It made me kind of sad when I looked the area up to write this article. A large part of my childhood is gone forever.
The shopping center itself sat on what was once a wheat field. The stream ran under the shopping center and flowed through a large drainage pipe under the parking lot.
I'd follow the stream, which crossed several other little streams. The closer to the river, the more swampy the land was. There were a lot of beautiful birds as well as turtles and a snake or two. For being surrounded by the city it seemed pretty wild to my young eyes. When I reached the river there was a bank that at times was nothing but mud. The little opening where the creek emptied into the river had a lot of old fishing gear such as weights and hooks and lines that were snagged on the trees behind the bank. Most of the time I went there was on weekdays and no one else was around. I fished with an old rod my grandfather had given to me and used worms for bait. Mostly I caught catfish and now and then a small little fish known as dollarfish. As is common today, then there was no strong warning about fishing in the river due to how polluted it was. Today they have done much to improve the river but there is still a ban on fishing, which nobody seems to obey.
I never swam in the river but some days I would sit on the bank watching the boats going up and down the river. It was a wonderful time in my life and each spring I remember that now gone swamp along the Anacostia River.