Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August 11th, 2007

Cools the body, mind, and soul

Day before yesterday I went with my two youngest sons and a friend of theirs to the waterfall pictured below. I was about 100 degrees F in the lowlands that day. The rock was so hot that it burned dry feet. The water was low from drought and not as cool as usual from being low and from a week of high temperatures. (I hope you’ve already figured out that this picture comes from an entirely different time when the creek was in fact nearly in flood condition.) But it was plenty cool enough, and clear. Harper Creek FallsWe saw more creek wildlife than one usually does. After sitting at water’s edge to eat a snack, I may have discovered why. Crawdads (crayfish for the rest of the country) were moving around. Usually they stay close to one eddy or rock, but they were moving across the large pool and over the cascade and through rapids. Why? mating season? Perhaps, but I considered a more immediate and likely reason. When it’s hot the water dissolves less oxygen, making it hard on these little gilled crustaceans. Perhaps they were looking for more oxygen rich water. Another evidence for this explanation was the large number of lethargic, upturned, and dead crawdads. Possibly there was a kill off from disease or pollution, but the later seems unlikely since the source water is the side of Grandfather Mtn. And too, the others seemed fine. The final evidence comes from the ones fairing well. On the cascade at almost exactly geometric center of the picture is a kettle (a pothole formed by the combination of continuously swirling, pounding water). This kettle is about 5′ x 3.5′ x 3′ deep. It is an exceptionally exciting experience to submerge into the kettle, underneath the foam and look up at the sunlit, white foam. The bottom is lined with rounded stones ranging from Foosball to tennis ball size. The rock carrying the water into the kettle overhangs the kettle by about a foot and allows one to come up for air in a small pocket underneath the falling water with just enough room to breath and not be seen by those outside the kettle. As my younger cohorts and myself took turns submerging into the kettle we began to see one then two then five crawdads moving around on the bottom, quite lively. The foam must provide a continuous supply of oxygen, aerating the water nonstop despite the high temperatures. Later Sam saw and caught a water snake that was about 16 to 18″ long. I ferried it across the large lower pool to show it to a mom and her 6 children. In conversation I learned that she had freshly returned from Poland and a missionary there. Later we saw a 2.5′ water snake of the same variety. Sam caught a small fish rolling down the cascade. Later still I talked to two college students who were former students of mine. As we sat in the shallow water at the edge of the upper pool a bright orange crawdad crawled close to the guy. I caught it and showed it around. I’d never seen an orange one before! Sam and Phil and Michael climbed part way up on the falls and jumped off numerous times. Sam wanted to climb to the top and jump off the falls. He watched me do it and followed. He did it five more times. I explored the bottom of the pools, watched the boys play and played with them and sat pondering the water, rock, trees, and sky. Clean foam entering the kettle, starkly blue summer skies (odd for here), sun heated basalt rock with with black and quartzite dikes running straight across, small fish and crawdads and water insect nymphs scurrying and clinging, transitions from dry land to water’s edge to submerged plants, boulders to silt, my body both hot in the sun and cool in the creek, and more arrested my attention with more force than usual. My Creator’s works can fascinate and inspire the spirit and mind for a thousand life times, how much more His person.

Read Full Post »