Thursday, August 9, 2007

reflections on a waterfall

Yesterday, Jeff and I brought our 5 year old nephew to our local 92 foot waterfall. You have to trek down a treacherous, steep foot path to get to the bottom of the falls. The hike is worth every slip and slide. The falls are really spectacular and must be seen from the bottom to truly appreciate their magnificence. The falls are a mostly unknown treasure of our area. We kind of like to keep them a secret. I won't give anyone directions to it.

Unfortunately, the falls aren't quite as spectacular this year as in the past. We have been going to the falls for 3 years. It seems as though each year, there is less water falling over the rocks. The Poestenkill River feeds the falls, and the Poestenkill receives most of its water from the snow melt on the mountains. No snow means less water, which results in a diminished "wow" factor at the falls.

This past winter we had almost no snow. It was 70 degrees in January. We didn't pull the snow blower out until February. A typical winter would have us starting it up in November. Jeff only had to snow blow once this year. We're really not complaining. I did complain about only having one snow day. If you don't use 'em, you lose 'em at my school.

Is this lack of snow caused by global warming, or is it just a weird weather pattern? I know the past few summers have felt hotter than usual. Are they, or am I just getting older and unable to tolerate the extreme temperatures?

I tend to think its a combination of all of the above, and that global warming is part of the equation. I believe in global warming, and that it is definitely going to change our quality of life.

I wonder when my nephew is my age, will the falls have any water? By that time, I will be 70(yikes!), and am probably not going to be hiking down that path to find out. I worry about what life will be like for him, when he reaches what I consider the prime of your life.

There were a couple young girls, about 10 years old, at the falls. One asked me where I was from. I told her, and then asked her the same question. She told me she lives right up the road, within walking distance. I told her she was lucky to live so close to the falls. She said, "Yeah, I know", and I could tell she really meant it. I'm glad she is able to appreciate the falls at such a young age. Again, I wondered if the falls will still be there when she brings her own kids down to jump in the sparkling, cool water on a hot summer day, or will it be an "I remember when..." story for her.

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