Big Springs is thick with history. We spent a long weekend there in late May, staying in one of the CCC-built cabins on the ridge above the spring branch, and eating dinners in the lodge overlooking the water. We did as close to nothing as possible. No TV. Almost no radio, although oddly enough, the Rev. Larry Rice has a station just down the road.

We did get one long walk in, along an old road up the hill from the cabin. And, as so often is the case, we came across the ruins of building. I suppose it's possible to date these things based on the materials used in construction. Someone had mixed up concrete for this one. I looked around for some clue for the building's purpose, but it could have been anything. Another mid-twentieth century cabin, most likely. But not a CCC-built one, because the ones still standing all have monumental stone fireplaces, and much better concrete. No sign of that in this ruin.

I wouldn't even remark on the ruins, except for the oddest bit of trash down hill from the foundation. I have no idea of what it's original purpose was:

It was a concrete box, three feet on each side, and a couple of feet deep, with a bit of lumber still attached to one side:

Maybe some sort of a cistern? Or the business end of a pit toilet? I couldn't tell. In any case, it's only purpose now is as a metaphor.

While walking around the park, we came across a display which explained how the CCC saved Big Spring from the Current River. The Current is about 1/4 mile from the spring; however, an old channel of the river cuts right up to the spring, and it's discharge flows to the river via the old change. According to the display, in the 30's the Current tried to revert back to its old channel, which would have flooded Big Spring. So the CCC engineered a series of breakwaters across the old channel, which forced the Current to stay where it is, and which preserved Big Spring and its spring branch. It was a good plan, and it has preserved Big Spring, which is an absolutely beautiful spot.

But still, the preservation of Big Spring suggests that perhaps Big Spring is like the concrete box I happened across, a bit of nature growing up inside a constructed space. Ozarks in a Box, if you will.