The water spills softly over the old stone wall to replenish the pool at the bottom. The pool fills and spills into the Kanawha River. The peaceful flow of the water invokes the memories of a simpler time. A time before the nearby road existed and a weary soul could stop and recharge his spirit in the tranquility of the falls. Just to right of the falls is a cave that was carved out by an earlier flow. Perhaps a cool place to sit down and enjoy a lunch break out of the sun. I imagine the traveler refilling his canteen in the falls as he allows the water to wash over him to remove the dust of the trail. After he is well rested he gathers his personal equipment and continues his journey down river. There’s no pressure to be there by a certain time. He’ll be there when he gets there. His life is full of living and he makes the most of every moment of every day as God intended.
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The clean smell of the rain hangs in the air as I pull into the little parking lot. Just crossing the threshold of foot bridge transports me to another world. A primal place with gigantic trees and a thick mat of ferns where the small things live. A tree frog drones out it’s high pitched song calling for his love.
Tread carefully on the muddy pathway to the base of the falls. The trail shows that someone who passed through earlier left their mark on the pathway. A mark that leads to an unexpected bath in the knee deep stream below. Near the base of the falls large flat rocks catch only a fraction of an inch of the water flowing through the mountains. Butterflies play in the air as the cascade fills this natural cathedral with a light mist. Small fish dart around in the highly oxygenated water. Most of the small stones are blown out by the force of the water but the ones caught in crevices are smooth and clean. I could really spend all day here just breathing in the charged air.
But there’s a set of sad eyes and wagging tail who needs to be walked soon. As so, fully refreshed from the rich environment beneath Cathedral Falls I began to pick my path back to my big blue truck and head home.
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To sit quietly by the water and allow the rush of the falls to carry away the cares of the outside world is one of the finest experiences on Earth.
The cool mists produced by the cascading water drifts gently by caressing my skin. The air is rich with the scent of wet stone driftwood. Small birds skim the pool beneath the falls as I just sit quietly and exist as a part of creation. Life should always be more of an experience than an existence. As often as I have written about how time flows without any pause there are exceptions. If you can just push away the outside world for a moment and fully absorb the peace that comes then you can freeze time in your memories.
Today circumstances colluded to prevent me from participating in the corporate Monday. (I’ll try to hide my disappointment 😁) My moment of freedom allowed the opportunity to drop by Cathedral Falls and catch an image of the frozen waterfall. The winter scene awakened the child in me and soon I could imagine myself as some Paleolithic hunter tracking a woolly mammoth on the ice. Never lose your ability to pretend. Adulthood doesn’t always mean that can’t play hooky and have an adventure.
About one mile East of Gauley Bridge West Virginia is Cathedral Falls. The cascade of water is about 60 feet high and the stream that feeds the falls is call Cane Branch. The little roadside park is easy to access so I stop by often. The path to the base of the falls is left in what is best described as a natural state. If you are sure-footed it’s no big deal. I water is only ankle deep in most places and if you can avoid slippery rocks you can walk right up the stream. If you can be there in the right light it’s one of our best photo ops. The image here was taken in the Spring. The air at Cathedral Falls is highly oxygenated due to the cascade. It’s a good place to go and just quietly exist as part of God’s creation. The cascading water seems to carry away the stress and anxiety that clings to the soul after a day of making modern life work. Green ferns and moss grows everywhere in the canyon. Birds and butterflies are often present. The birds sing their songs and butterflies seem to dance to the tune.
Cathedral Falls is one of God’s special spots. I’m happy to share it with you but you should see it for yourself.