Sunday, November 16, 2008
This may come as a surprise to many, but Mother Nature does not close up shop when most of her carpeting and décor is no longer green, although under those conditions, people avoid her treasures in droves. For instance, just minutes from the interstate and big box stores, you’ll find Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs, Arkansas. This time of the year, the sparsely visited park is a jewel of serenity ready to sooth your jangled nerves.
One of Catherine’s favorite attractions is the waterfall you see above. You must walk over a trail to reach it. For most folks from geezer to grandchild, the walk is no big deal. Particularly if you take the trail backwards as I always do. You get to the waterfall a bit sooner that way.
When you go in the back way, you skirt the lake. If you happen to look on the surface of the water on a spectacularly bright fall day, you may see some leaves reflected there, floating on a Cezanne-like background. It’s simply a matter of looking. The sight is a regular, though unheralded attraction.
The falls are just as pretty in the fall as they are in the spring and summer. Consider the difference to be like balancing your love of chocolate pie with your love of chocolate cake, or some similarly decadent and sinful object of gastronomical desire.
You arrive at the falls to find the cool blues and grays of the water and rocks framed in yellows, reds, and oranges. It is as if the almighty is saying to us, “Remember the color wheel from grade school?”
Once you’ve had your fill of the falls and do a 180 to leave the way you came in, it’s almost like changing channels. The stream is inching its way toward the lake like liquid azure crystal. As it enters, it takes on the brilliant reflection of turning leaves.
Hardly breaking a sweat or noticing an increased heart rate from exertion, you make it back to the parking lot and come to the realization that you feel refreshed, perhaps even cleansed. Mother Nature will do that to you. Twelve months out of the year. But you gotta meet the old broad half-way.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.