Within walking distance of my front porch in the small town where I’ve lived this past year, veins of narrow sloughs spill into the larger Catskill Creek. Just below a confluence, a bridge spans the creek and steep, terraced waterfall that drops sixty feet over a wall of moss covered limestone. It’s not difficult to imagine such an idyllic setting as the inspired source for Thomas Cole(American) or other Hudson River School painters in their depiction of “America’s Eden”. Above the falls, a deciduous forest--diverse as it is timeless--shades all but the lower pond. It’s like heaven on a table. Teens and young adults gather at a series of rock and concrete “stages”, remnants of an old stone bridge. Most take running starts before launching their pale bodies over cliff edges--their arms stretch wide for flight--falling like wet leaves,
Standing near the forests edge, all of my senses tune-in to memory and recall a summer thirty years ago when there seemed an eternity at my feet. I did finally make the giant leap on what felt like the last day of this summer, arms wind-milling wildly to keep my body from flailing sideways. I broke the surface in an uncontrolled dissent that might best be characterized as “primitive”. the bruises on my arms and back, put me in touch with each of my fifty-plus years. how long has it been since I’ve felt such sudden release in the body—the near-orgasmic liberation from fear--an absence of days...seated in the deep time of nature.