I’ve always been grateful to the local chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club for cutting and maintaining the Red Sandstone Trail behind my house along the Raquette River from Hannawa Falls down Sugar Island almost to the village. Before then, it was all bushwhack. I took a friend visiting from Florida down part of the trail the other day. There was one spot I just had to share.
Beside the waters
It’s only a little waterfall, only a little way from home.
Most of the long rapids that gave the spot its native name,
“laughing waters,” is sunk beneath Hannawa Flow.
But even a small fall of water over red sandstone
is worth the walk, the scramble down the bluff
of leaf duff, needles and scree to the jumbled riverbed.
You can hear the water all the way from the road,
white noise, but with a pulse that ebbs and rises.
You can smell the water, fresh as the world’s dawning.
I’ve come a hundred times to this overhang, undercut
a little further each spring by Adirondack snowmelt,
to this same flat rock in the shadow of the pines.
There’s a message within the falling water, some signal
to decode, had one the ears for it and the stillness.
Listen. No, really listen. Wait. You will hear it, too.