Been walking along the shore of Beaver Lake, going a little further than I used to.
It's had me thinking about the river that's down there. The lake was made in 1966 after the creation of a dam. Before that, the White River snaked its way through them there hills.
One of my great grandpas used to dig wells around this area. In those days, you could cross the river via bridges that are now underwater. I think about his hypothetical submerged crossings. He would use a forked switch off a peach tree to find the right spot to dig. Now you don't need a switch or a well to find the water.
It's a return to water - during the Paleozoic north west Arkansas was under the ocean, as the many fossils along the lake will attest.
The lake was a modernization project to create a stable water source and stop destructive flooding. Dams themselves are pretty destructive, as well. I think of it as rationalization - an attempt at making the water make sense. Every day I drink and bathe in that water from the tap, but I still think about the undines and river nymphs that hide under the underwater bridges and the nonfantastical lifeways of people who knew the river.
I could not find a map of before and after the dam, so I took a map from 1950, traced the river, and compared it to a map from after 1966. It is not 100% accurate, but should give you an idea:
The lake traces lots of shapes, like the peninsula where I grew up. It's shaped like an old granny with a scrunched up face.
There's more I could say about the lake, but I don't know enough about it to be sure.
As always, say "rabbits rabbits rabbits" next Tuesday,