|indiana autumn morning. monotype relief print on paper. october 2011.|
i visited Shades State Park near the tiny town of Waveland, IN the other day. a place that is a sanctuary of sorts for me. when i was a young student and runner at Wabash College, i'd visit the park often to run the trails at a torrid pace, explore the woods, and breathe the cool the air exhaled from the trees. no matter how often i went, it was always an amazing experience; rejuvenating, exhilarating, and humbling. these days i've continued to visit a few times a year, however the running has become what i call "rucking" a run/hike/explore/photog hybrid that allows me to get a decent workout and have fun in the woods at the same time, all while making it back to the car without keeling over from asthma or being out of shape.
i drove down 231 to the park early in the morning, passed the fog filled flood plains of the wabash river and my alma mater. through a low and hazy morning glow. arriving at the park i found my formerly 'free' parking space to be fenced off and grown over. so i turned around and entered the park from the main entrance and paid the $5 fee to get in for the day. this is the first time in 10 years that i've paid to get into this park. i parked my car, got out, pissed in the bushes near the lot, laced up my shoes and started off. the air was cool and crisp, slightly dewy above the goldenrod field that preceded the woods. i made my way through the shoulder high prairie grasses and into the trees, stepping on the trail and breathing in those first gasps of cool air that rushes from under the trees. immediately i spooked a couple of deer near the trail, though all i caught of them was the rustle of the underbrush and two white tear drops dancing through the trees until they disappeared. i followed along the trail for about an hour, running a bit, walking some, stopping to take pictures and gather handfuls of red leaves. when i came to a place where the trail crossed the stream i stopped for a few moments to quickly make a small and sketchy work of art inspired by andy goldsworthy. i scattered the red leaves i'd collected in a small slow moving stream. as they followed the current, they scattered themselves in a red line around a bend in the stream. after taking several photographs of my average efforts, i continued along the trail and looped back around until i came back to the main part of the park.
|Goldsworthy-inspired drifting leaves|
there's a place down at the bottom of the cliff where a trail accesses Sugar Creek, but it is a gauntlet of steps. i went anyway. i passed an old couple at the 3rd landing who followed me down the cliff. i made my way down to the river and plopped myself upon a rock at the bank, looking out at nothing but river bend to the right, sheer white cliff to the left, and an explosion of autumn in the trees before my eyes. looking at the water the trees and the sky rippled softly. i sat on the rock for 20 minutes or so. i heard the old couple make it down the steps behind me, the wind was subtle. the water was silent and the skies were still. it was something to notice in a world of rushing days. i notice it every time i visit the park.
(the print above was inspired by this trip to Shades State Park)