RDS: "With familiarity the profound becomes mundane. With passion the mundane becomes profound."...... Saul Bellow :" A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep." ......MORE PHOTOS @ saunterings.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Hurricane Falls

The goal of the visit.

Only the bottom portion is visible from an observation deck, but its height can be gauged by the rather large pool at its base. A large force must be at work to carve this pool.

Geology is a humbling science second only to astronomy. But geology is touchable, we trip and fall and pick ourselves up in geological environs. We can ponder the stars, but we can touch the earth, see the effects of time's passage before our very eyes. A speck of stone is revealed in each dawn’s light as new, never before seen by conscious beings, tiny specks of life that are aware as no other specks have been in the eons that is earth’s existence.

On July 18, 1970, the high-wire artist Karl Wallenda walked across the gorge. Only eight years before members of the Flying Wallendas were doing their famous human pyramid in Detroit, falling and killing two and injuring him. In 1978, eight years later he himself would fall and be killed while performing.
The towers used in 1970 are still to be seen above Tallulah Gorge, a grim reminder of a dangerous profession.

Just along the rim the long downhill trail to Hurricane Falls and the river bottom start. There is plenty of warning about the trail, all justified, 1099 steps I think! The downward steps aren’t that tough but uphill they turn against you.

Atop the rim of the gorge looking upstream, white waterfalls and rapids are seen, while looking downstream some pines cling precariously to the wall, and the beauty of the season and sunlight dramatically complete the scene.

Hurricane Falls is only partially seen from the bottom and the downstream look is mostly boulders. It is hard to believe that
kayaking is possible through the rocks but when the river flow is increased with releases from the dam it is quite popular.

Looking up the gorge walls you can see an overlook. I commented to a man that I had seen at the overlook earlier about how smart to be up there. He replied “ No, not really, because up there you what to be down here!!”

About two-thirds up from the river bed, past the suspension bridge above the falls, the steps seem endless!!

Friday, April 1, 2011


Winter goose prints exposed in spring as thawing begins on Sapsucker Woods pond

Early in March a two day thaw and spring seemed so close. Silly me I made a trip to Sapsucker Woods thinking that this would be my last chance to see the retreat of winter. Chuckle, chuckle, Thursday and Friday were sweet with spring fever breaking out. Robins were arriving and Red-winged blackbirds too. Cardinals sang into the deep blue sky, chickadees and jays and even crows changed their tune!! Then Sunday early snow began, and fell for 24 straight hours and almost 20 ". Spring sprung a snowy leak.

This is what caught my eye when spring was on my mind and Sapsucker Woods called forth!!

Winter's first retreat is at the edge when dry draws the solar warmth and spreads to the wet.

Every non-white absorbs the ever-brighter sun and, as the degree days accumulate, dramatic changes occur.

In winter all is uniform, details matter less. But as spring draws near they matter and become early spring events.

For while most life is still dormant, the
the first hints are seen.

In nutrient rich, shallow ponds exposed to the late winter rays of sun, non-green algae starts to grow and spread in March "warmth".

Branches, twigs and sprigs and even sub-surface variations alter degree-days and magnify the effect.

The snow spots in the pond seem to be remnants of goose prints made in winter snow. Slightly compressed snow, compacted and with more moisture, freezes harder and denser in the cold that follows a brief thaw.

Adding yet another discontinuity that is magnified as thaw sponges solid ice.

Surprising is the color as the winter begins to ebb. Sky blue sky appears while even looking down, the fall leaf color brown and tinge of moss green portend the life abundant soon.

At Sapsucker Woods the trail crosses a road to a more wooded wetland that is so dramatically different from the large open ponded areas.

A twig in ice not
visited by much sun is still encased in gray ice and not surrounded by brown algae. Is pi R squared or calligraphy displayed?
The wooded ponding areas are less nutrient rich and gray is ice color.

Along the H. W. Saunders boardwalk these roots of a long fallen giant have always caught my attention. Many moments of searching and with much film exposed I have yet to capture the feeling that I have when I pass and stare and reflect.
The years that have passed since this tree has fallen, the character and beauty, a patina of moss and lichen and old age, pine needles and and fall leaves, is never fully captured.

I guess the image is in my head and perhaps will stay put!

Patterns and swirls form as the ice slowly thins. Currents ever so slight enhance patterns and leave their mark to see. Soon all the ice will melt and patterns disappear.

Each spring paints images, ever changing images
never just the same.

About the Sauntering Recluse

My photo
Ithaca, New York
Greenhouse operater well-rooted, now branching out. Photo and writing interests now springing from a long term dormancy.



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