The Healing Power of Waterfalls

I am very in tune with my emotional well-being and work hard to ensure I reside in a good space.  When I am straying from the peace, I set my plan in motion and I follow the particular path that calls out to me. 

Peace, reflection, solitude and a social disconnect were in order so off to Pigeon Hill Road we went…

Morning one, the temps dropped way low from the night before, the sun which shone brightly on our journey here completely gone. Coffee in hand I ventured outside, they sky was grey, the warmth was gone, I stayed there for but a few moments, not quite ready to look at my thoughts.  We stayed close to home, I cooked, he cut the grass, I began an oil painting. I pictured an angry, stormy sky.  Around midday the rains came, slow at first and then heavy and strong and did not go away. No hummingbirds came.

The weather was mirroring my mood of late. I came to our mountain with a purpose and a need for the clouds to dissipate and the fog to rise…surely that is what has been obstructing my vision.

Morning two, and the rain continued to fall ever so gently, a chill waking up my senses as if it were late fall rather than almost summer. I found myself alone and bundled up on the back porch sipping my coffee, quiet time spent in prayer and reflection. There is no wifi or a cell phone signal, but the daily plan opens every day.   The leaves on the trees swaying slightly, very few birds singing their joyful tunes, they were dark and drab, the buzz of the rushing creek water underneath it all…no hummingbirds came.

The air was thick and the sky was grey, I searched but could not find an open area where the blue might be poking through…but the forecast said clearing so I held onto hope.

We ventured out to Tinker Falls, a place we visited last summer, then it was but a trickle due to heat and lack of rain.  The path to the falls, easy and short was strewn with heart rocks; both of us were on the lookout and stopped to snap pictures each time a new one appeared.  An excitement arises as we slow our pace to the falls and the presence of others fade from my mind as I stop and crouch and shift my angles as I snap away.  We are asked what we’re looking at and we shared our find, they walk away smiling as they say, how cool.

The falls were flowing freely and I felt a stir deep inside as we get closer to the sound, the creek which was completely dry last time was slick with running water.  The sun had not yet shown its face but the mood was lifting, the approach to the falls bringing that familiar juxtaposition of peace and excitement.  We stood and watched in silence, then I decide to climb the stairs off to the side on my own.  I had not noticed them on our last visit. They are slick, mud and wet leaves covering each one so it is a slow gingerly ascent which leads me under the falls…as I stand under the cool shelter of the overhang, the first days of sunlight begin to poke through,  and the rhythm of the water takes hold and  I am captivated.

I videotaped the flow of the water as it comes down over me like rain. And then I must return from where I came.  On my way down, the same precautions taken, watching every step I take, a tiny heart presents itself, I reach down wipe it clean and slip it in my pocket. The internal shift is beginning to take place.

Further down the road a boardwalk and a bog, colorful flowers appear, popping up in the patches of green and gold, winding and winding until we come upon the lake, as the winds begin to whip and moan, the storm clouds begin to form. We head home before the storm..

Morning three still cool and crisp, wrapped in a blanket I sat, coffee in hand, the trees are still, the sky is grey and I remember yesterday started in a similar way. After I finish my daily plan, I sit pondering, I close my eyes and I am back at the waterfall, the rush of the creek providing the sound effects, as I begin to hear the symphony of birds. Today’s birds were more colorful, I open my eyes and see flashes of green, orange, red and even yellow feathers as they fluttered about but still no hummingbirds. I get up and walk the end of the deck and look around, it was there I notice for the first time a large heart shaped rock which has always been there.

We ventured out in a new direction in search of more waterfalls that are easily accessible, he can’t climb.

Driving country roads, taking in the view, even under questionable skies brings a sense of serenity. Occasional patches of light blue and rays of light break through. The GPS says we have arrived, but nothing.  So we end up driving right by and turning around when we realize we’ve gone too far, I read the directions again and discovered we had been looking right instead of left, and lo and behold we  come upon Bucktail Falls. Just visible from the road, we park the car and walk about 20 feet to enjoy this little gem….worth the one hour drive?

Some might say no, I would defend yes as part of the overall journey for example, combined with a stop at this awesome BBQ joint (Bob’s) we discovered on our way to Fillmore Glenn State Park a mecca of water falls (5 in total).  We were in search of Cowshed Falls, described as another easy walk to a cascading waterfall with a 37 foot drop, this then flows into an area that they dam to create a natural swimming pool.  We crossed the wooden bridge and followed the dirt path which exposed a few hearts along the way. We sat watching and listening to the cascading water flow. 

I decided to tackle the steps and venture up again to take in the view from that angle, but the quick route was closed when I got there and I had not factored in a hike of that length for that day.. Another time, as we will be back for a future visit. And good thing, because the sky grew dark and the rain drops fell once again as we headed back to the car and followed a different route of country roads home. We ended the night with a fire in the wood burning stove and above the glow of flame, in the twilight I look out the window and there’s a hummingbird. I finish my oil painting, the flashes of light I had envisioned in the sky turned out to be shooting stars, not lightening.

Morning four, still some clouds but the air is dry and over the mountain a patch of bright blue, it’s small but it is an opening. As I sit and read my bible plan I hear a buzz and when I look over, the humming has arrived.   We’re headed back to one of our favorite parks and water falls, Taughannock. As we leave Pigeon Hill Road the clouds slowly disappear before our eyes, the sky turns blue and the sun shines bright. Due to one stupid comment I am angry when we arrive at the overlook at the top of the hill. We make the short walk down the stone path, the roar is loud, the water flowing fast and heavy, my heart starts racing and softening; it’s hard to stand before a waterfall and hold onto anger…or at least for me it is.

We hop in the car and head to the parking lot, we grab a spot under a big shady tree, he heads left with his fishing gear, and I head right to the falls.  It’s 3\4 mile walk to reach the falls on a smooth dirt along the stream and mini cascades of the falls.  The path is mostly tree covered, very calming and filled with hearts.  I take my time stopping, contemplating, searching, and relaxing as I continue taking pictures along the way.  I’m lost deep in thought as I take in all that surrounds me, stopping and starting, closing my eyes and breathing it in.

My stroll to the falls and back was made with no sense of urgency or time limit.  I moved as I felt compelled forward, I sat when the need to be still took over.  The water again much more full and powerful than past visits. The recent rainfall had positively affected this location too.  I paid particular notice to the small cascades that in the past hadn’t really had much of a pull, but this time it had a life of its own, I stood watching and listening, I was concentrating on the spot where the water churned, I saw the formation of hearts in the foam develop and disappear, I zoomed in for a close up, to capture that feeling of excitement and fear, love and hate that the churning water was releasing.. can you see the little heart?

I finally made my way back to the main drop of the falls, 215 feet high, taller than Niagara Falls, but not as wide.  Every time I come upon it, it feels brand new.  I feel alive with excitement.  I realize how long I have been on this path and decide it is time to switch gears and add some move with intent, I follow the winding dirt path back out to the beginning and head to the stone stairs which begin the 2 mile hiking loop around the falls. The atmosphere was good for the mind, but my body needed a bit of a challenge. 

I was intent on working up a sweat and putting my muscles to good use, my pace was swift which meant passing many hearts along the way and leaving them behind as just a memory without a photo to remind me.  The hike gave glimpses of the falls, and teased of the view from the top, but it did not reveal itself, in fact, the falls were not in plain view until the descent on the other side of the mountain, at one particular stopping point as you came around the bend, there she was in all her majesty.

I took a few moments to admire the view then slowed my pace just a bit to pay attention to the hearts of stone on the way down, snapping pictures here and there.  Sadly it was time to head back home, one last night on the mountain then back to reality.

We left Pigeon Hill Road and my soul was cleansed, my mind was refreshed and my body reinvigorated.

I take pictures from every angle, I allow the camera settings to capture its own pictures and nuances using the single shot feature.  I am intrigued by a particular black and white shot I did not discover until I uploaded the photos on our way home onto FB and a friend “liked” it. 

It strikes me.. I do not recall this particular view, I do not remember this shot, but it exists and I was part of it and I can feel it.

Well-being through Waterfalls, I recommend it every time!

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