Philosophy | Travel

The Lure of Falling Water

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” – John Muir

What is it about waterfalls?  Is it the sound of falling water hitting hard surfaces and drowning out the rest of the world?  The stunning visual dance of water and light that often creates rainbows in the mist?  Or is it the lure of something bigger than ourselves?  Something timeless and enchanting all at once?  I’m not really sure I can answer my own question.  But I’m drawn to waterfalls just the same.

We made a point of visiting two waterfalls during a brief visit to Ithaca, New York.  We’ve been to both before, and wanted to see how they looked in a different season.  It turns out that the first attempt was thwarted by the closure of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail because of some damage sustained to the trail that prompted officials to deem it dangerous for the public.  I suspect we would have done just fine on it, but we honored the signs and temporary fencing the City of Ithaca had barring access to the trail.

Thankfully, the second option was open and available, and we were able to spend a bit of time contemplating Ithaca Falls.  Strangely, there were very few people about.  I always wonder about that when visiting places like Ithaca Falls.  Why aren’t there more people there?  But we were grateful for the relative solitude afforded to us, and the opportunity to see a place like this one more time.  I’m not sure how many times I’ll get back to the many waterfalls of Ithaca; I hope many more.   Why would you visit a place and knowing what lingers nearby, not take a moment for awe and reflection?  It really doesn’t matter why we love it, only that we’re able to spend moments of wonder with falling waters.

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