Great Gully

Water Streak

This week I visited Great Gully on the east side of Cayuga Lake. I had not been here before. I read that there were a couple of interesting waterfalls along the stream.

The gully is wide and flat bottomed and the entrance is near to the road. Such easy access of course leads to trash, fire remains, and grafitti; especially around the first waterfall that is within a few hundred feet of the small parking area. Fortunately things get better as the gully goes along.

I walked up the stream to the second waterfall and beyond. The stones here are a little different than in my usual haunts further west. Instead of layer upon layer of thin shale and slate that are sometimes so delicate that you can break the stones apart with your fingers, much of the stream bed is a solid foundation of dark grey stone with deep fissures forming large blocks. The surface is lumpy and worn smooth and slick by the water. Where the bedrock has not been scoured clean by the running water, the floor is covered in smooth round rocks; some small, some maybe as big as softballs. It is like walking on a floor covered with marbles – very tiring.

I splashed my feet through water as it ran this way and that over and around the stones. The wide valley is covered in a thick blanket of trees except where the water constantly sweeps the seeds away.  There was often a sweet spicy scent on the light breeze that followed the water down the gully. I never located the source – I wish I had.

StreamsOn the way back it started to rain – a gentle tingly rain. It calmly and reassuringly patted me on the arms and head and on the back of my neck. It came on so gradually and quietly that I didn’t find it a distraction or a bother. It just became part of the day, part of the woods, part of me.

It threw little rings into the pools. It cooled and cleaned the air. It made light pattering sounds on the leaves of the trees.

This isn’t the kind of rain that you run from – seeking shelter under the trees; a place to escape from the pounding torrent that stings your skin, splashes in your eyes, and cascades off your body. No lightning or thunder to startle, threaten, and bully. No challenges daring you to come out and face the gauntlet. This rain coaxes you little by little to come out and play.

I found myself hurrying out from under the spots where the trees formed a natural umbrella. It blocked out my friend and I wanted to get back to the open. I knew that it might stop at anytime and then I would miss it. When I arrived at the second large waterfall, I climbed down to the bottom and sat down at the edge of the plunge pool.

The stream cascaded before me in long thin streaks of white; bursting outward in wide rays on the surface of the water. It was like a continuous upside down fireworks display. The long trail of the missiles one after another and all together at the same time were launched from above my head and came hissing down toward me. Reaching their “peak” the innumerable shells exploded at the bottom as I looked down on the brilliant display scattered across the dark surface of the water instead of up across a dark night sky.
Not to be outdone, the clouds created a waterfall of their own. A waterfall that fell all around me and added its chaotic sprightly treble steps to the constant base dance of the pool. I watched as each drop, falling from unknown regions above, spawned a bubble on the surface of the plunge pool. I could not see the tiny clear drops as the singletons slipped quietly through the equally clear freshly washed air.

I could only see bubbles suddenly popping up out of the water, as if by magic. Some of the little domes would just be a flash and then gone. Others had the will to exist a little longer. They lingered for a little while, a few meager seconds, balancing precariously on the wiggling jiggling water until, no longer able to keep body and soul together, they quietly popped out of existance as quickly and mysteriously as they had been born.

Each one left behind a parting gift – a small ring that quickly spread out to be swallowed up in the wild dance of the pool – a dance that is at once steady and unchanging while at the same time shifting and infinitely variable.



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3 Responses to “Great Gully”

  1. lookingforbeauty Says:

    The floating along then losing substance is poetic.

  2. fencer Says:

    More beautiful shots. The second one especially is like liquid light.


  3. forestrat Says:

    You know, it does look like liquid light.


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