nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘waterfall

snippets of landscape – ice falls on rock walls

with 14 comments

When highways are built, they often cut through the bedrock, leaving rock walls along the margins of the road.  If these intersect a brook or seep of water, the result is a waterfall on the face of the rock.  In spring or summer, rains can create wild cataracts.  In winter the water freezes, building frozen walls of blue-shadowed ice.  In sunlight, especially when they begin to melt, these ice falls are dazzling.

~

~

one warm hand

~

icicles seep between

layers of rock frozen

curtains separate

inner room from winter storm

glass barrier between blue

light and sheltered eyes

memory of water flows

along the face of the rock

one warm hand melts ice

consolation, condensation

on the inward glass

~

~

© Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

March 10, 2012 at 7:43 am

cave beneath the waterfall

with 10 comments

In the cold weather, I think about the waterfalls we saw this summer.  As the temperature gets lower, they succumb.  First the water freezes at the edges, building up on the rocks and ledges.  Then, gradually icicles build and the surface water freezes.  By mid-winter, the waterfall will be a frozen cataract, a glass house of ice.  Within the frozen falls are ice caverns and icicles, places where water runs and where water stands still, and places where the ice traps sunlight to shimmer and sparkle. 

One of the waterfalls we visited this summer was Smith Falls (see ‘niche beneath waterfall’ under the category ‘waterways’, published October 21, 2011).  At the base of the waterfall was a small cave.  In winter, the entrance to this cave must be a crystalline curtain of icicles and glass.  

Below, in my poem and drawing, I remember the cave and waterfall in summer.       

~

shelter

            ‘a small cave is hidden beneath the falls’

                                        –  trail guide

~

sip of tea

candles lit in evening

a lap quilt tucked

relief from freshet

~

cave,  respite

beneath two newly reconciled

slabs of bedrock

or where vulnerable sediments finally fail

succumb to the reach of water

~

spurt and shard

the brawl subsides

and damp recedes

pollen settles

~

concentric rings

and space is made

to occupy

~

© Jane Tims 2011

 

© Jane Tims 2011

Written by jane tims

November 28, 2011 at 6:58 am

pool at the base of the waterfall

with 6 comments

Have you ever had trout nibble at your toes?

When I was a teenager, my family was fortunate to own a woods property with a brook and a substantial waterfall.  We had a cabin there, built by my Dad.

The brook was wide and shallow, running through mixed woods.  It was a torrent in the spring, but in summer it ran gently through the trees, bordered by mossy hummocks, accented with small pools and riffles.

I remember the first time I saw the waterfall.  We were looking for a woods property and a farmer offered to show us some of his land.  I was exploring a particular area, following the bank of the stream, when I first heard the roar of the falls and saw the bright froth of water through the trees.  I couldn’t believe it when the owner said, without hesitation, we could have that lot for our cabin.

The falls were substantial, spilling about 15 feet over a dip in the shale substrate.  They spread outward from the lip of the falls, creating a broad triangle of white, laid across the rock like a veil.  The roar of the water falling was constant and intense.

'waterfall and pool'

At the base of the waterfall was a pool, waist deep.  The water was headache cold, but once we became used to it, we could swim and cool off on a summer day.  The pool was transparent as glass, and we could look down and watch the trout nibbling at our toes.  In spite of the dramatic turn of my poem below, the trout were not voracious and their nibbles were butterfly kisses.

  

Meniscus

~

1.

~

mist and mosses

colour the air

where the waterfall leaps

green in the mumble of water

~

I stand waist deep

in the fall-fed pool

bubbles cling to my legs

to the hairs on the back of my knee

~

droplets of air above water are nothing

~

2.

~

the soles of my feet

slide on the slate

search for softer

pockets of sand

~

trout kiss my ankles

~

I try to see

but the surface is silver

a dome reflected

of maple and sky

~

3.

~

a green leaf settles

a pine needle spins

striders press dents on the water

~

4.

~

I need to see the trout

I bend my face to the water

press on the skin

push through the meniscus

~

my nose is severed from my face

~

5.

~

I am the pond

~

I cannot move

I cannot breathe

my hands are numb

my heart squeezes within me

~

I cannot believe

the trout have taken

great gashes of leg

my toes are slashed by the slate

~

I look up through the water

its surface a circle of silver

~

6.

~

fish gnaw at my toes

bubbles grate at the back of my knee

tears under water are nothing

~

 

© Jane Tims 1992

Written by jane tims

September 27, 2011 at 8:34 am

cascade across the rock

with 5 comments

Earlier this summer, in July, we visited Little Sheephouse Falls, northwest of Miramichi.  The Falls are part of the watershed of the South Branch of the Big Sevogle River.

To see Little Sheephouse Falls requires a short hike through mixed woods.  The trail to the Falls is very well maintained by the forest company who manages the area and was an easy walk in spite of my arthritic knees. 

The woods were green with ferns and other woodland plants.  My favourite of these was a little vine of Mitchella repens L. cascading across a lichened rock.  Commonly known as Partidge-berry, Mitchella is a small vine with roundish opposite leaves, often found growing in shady, mossy woods.  It has pinkish flowers and small red berries.  The Flora I consulted says it is found where it can be free from the competition of more vigorous plants.

Mitchella repens growing across a rock in the woods

We did not go to the base of the falls, but kept to the trails navigating the escarpment.  The falls are about 20 meters high, with a large pool and a cave at the base.  They were a white torrent on the day we visited, making a rumbling thunder in striking contrast to the quiet woods.

Little Sheephouse Falls

Directions to Little Sheephouse Falls, and other waterfalls in New Brunswick, are contained at Nicholas Guitard’s website http://www.waterfallsnewbrunswick.ca and in his 2009 book Waterfalls of New Brunswick (see ‘books about natural spaces’).

Waterfalls are spaces to soothe the soul and inspire love for natural areas.  They engage the senses… the sounds of the gurgling stream and the roar of the waterfall, the feel of cool, clean water, and the sight of water bubbling and boiling, following the contours of the landscape. 

 

the three fates, spinning

~

1.

wound on the rock

mended by waterfall thread

~

2.

at last I touch

the water

real, wet water

(not a report or diagram

but the flavor feel and smell

of water)

~

it pours through my fingers

delivers to me

the mosses

the lichens

(the moth on the pin where she has always

wanted to be)

~

3.

the doe must feel this

as she crosses

the road-to-nowhere

when the birch and aspen enfold her

~

or the ant

as she maps the labyrinth

on the rotting morel

when she touches the ground

(blessed ground)

~

or the needles of white pine

when they find the note

split the wind into song

            ~

4.

the three fates

spinning

~

the waterfall

diverted by the rock

Published as: “the three fates, spinning”,  The Antigonish Review 165, Spring 2011.

(revised)

© Jane Tims

needles of white pine...split the wind into song

niche beneath waterfall

with 6 comments

This past weekend, we made a visit to two of New Brunswick’s waterfalls: Erbs Falls and Smith Falls, both on the Kingston Peninsula.   

Erbs Falls begins as a quickening of the water of Peters Brook in a narrowing gorge.

 At this time of year, the water proceeds in one of two pathways, down the labyrinth of the fish ladder…

…or into a deep, narrow gorge through the bedrock…

… to emerge into the sunlight as Erbs Falls.

Smith Falls begins as a series of smaller falls in the brook.  The path runs along the brook, so we saw every ripple and dip.

Upper Moss Glen Falls

The water plunges over the lip of the falls…

…flows past a small cave…

… and forces its way between rocks over the lower part of the falls.

Waterfalls are the ultimate experience of water.  At the base of the waterfall are the mingled sounds of the thundering water and the gurgle of the stream.  The shade and mists are cooling, refreshing.  Sneakers get wet, hands are washed in cold water, and balance is tested as you follow the downward path of the waterfall.

I also like to think about the shape of the rock under the falls.  I watch the spout and flume of the water to see what solid shapes beneath the flow have shaped the waterfall.  I try to see through the white curtain of water to see the rock and stone, and understand how they are both revealed and concealed by the waterfall.

beneath waterfall

~

what can I do

to cover me

feign a drip of waterfall

from a single eye

or a flume

from the fluid of two

~

shall I arrange

my hair to hide beneath

my skin a wasp-nest

paper waterfall

hung lightly

~

who will see me

if I place my hands on rock

freckles are dapples of sun

fingernail glints of mica

or whorls in fingerprint

swirl like water

~

the spare notes of white-throat

or fluid jubilee of robin

flow over, compose sheet

music of quarter notes

to cover me

~

sitting here

on the edge of the bed

far from waterfall

electric fan for breeze

electric bulbs for sparkle

down-filled white duvet 

to hide beneath

~

© Jane Tims  2011

Written by jane tims

August 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm

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