As the evening sun begins to retreat behind the mountains it grants one last gaze into the cove at the foot of Gauley Mountain. The soft light spreads through the forest floor as wood and stone are bathed in the cascade of Cathedral Falls. The oxygen charged air within the natural cathedral enhances the sense of peace as I cross the wooden footbridge. Time itself seems to slow to a halt as the elements of nature coalesce into my frame. It’s been said that God first set the word of His testimony into nature. I believe that is true because as I look at the beauty He created for us to live in his love for us is written on every stone, carved into every tree, bound into every drop of water and energized by every ray of light. With my spirit renewed in this natural sanctuary it’s time to replace the cap on my lens and return to the big blue truck and head home.
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The evening light spills ever so softly into the landscape at Cathedral Falls. The tall cascade of water flows from the mountain and over the stones. The cascade is the star of the show that draws the spectators but the dozens of tiny falls that dance and play on their way to the river are just as pleasing. I have to imagine that they are the children of the Cascade above. Born out of the sense of peace and serene beauty of Cathedral Falls she sends her offspring into the river to spread out and share the mountains with the rest of the world.
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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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Tonight’s image is the little foot bridge at Cathedral Falls in Gauley Bridge West Virginia .
How do I start this conversation? What clever words can I use to open eyes and hearts? Art is supposed to imitate life. Right? I often get a lot of positive feedback on the light in my photos and I’m always humbled by it. But the truth is that without the shadows you wouldn’t notice the light. Life is a composition consisting of ups (the light) and downs (the shadows). Art gives us the advantage of observing light and shadow from an outside perspective. But, with life we are inside the composition. During the incidents of shadow we don’t really get to observe the light. It exists just outside our perspective. But it is there and as we move on through the composition we will encounter the light as well. We will move through light and shadow in different patterns throughout our lives. It the areas of shadow that gives us an appreciation for the light and it’s the downs of life that makes the up times so special.
Just a few thoughts to keep in mind during dark days. Your life is your own composition. During the times when shadow seems to dominate, it helps me to get out and go find the light.
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.