On this earthly perch, level with treetops, I am happy in bright sunlight and fresh air.

I am high on the western edge of a sandstone cliff. Treetops, stretching to the horizon, undulate in a stiff breeze. It is as though an ocean of green leaves has been placed at my feet. I want to jump in and swim. Of course, at a little over three meters per second per second and a distance of forty meters, the maximum possible length of the swim could only be a little less than three seconds and would end in a boulder strewn cliff bottom. Immediately, the idea of swimming in treetops vanishes. The air is warm and fresh on this sunlit precipice and brings with it wonderful forest scents. I spot a dark hole in the canopy, south, at a distance of about a five-minute walk. Perhaps it is a whirlpool in my ocean that sucks unwary swimmers into an abyss from which there is no escape. I feel the need to investigate.

Toward a darkness shrouded in green, I pass an oak stunted on this high ground.
Its' plight pondered, the Black Jack seems happy and healthy.

As I start my journey to the rift in the ocean, I spot the top of a Black Jack Oak. The rest of the tree seems to be buried. Closer inspection reveals a severed main trunk and the marks of a sharp metallic object. Despite the imposed handicap, the leaves, remaining trunk and branches, all seem in good health. The stunted tree looks happy. Some wither with loss and others continue to thrive.

I reach the green encased darkness.
A great sandstone staircase plummets into an abyss.
I rush down steep stone steps into the unknown.

What appeared to be a great dark hole in the undulating canvass of trees is really a great sandstone staircase clinging to the side of a cliff. Though they seem ancient and somewhat weather worn, the steps are cut very evenly from the beautiful gray sandstone and appear easy to descend. It is impossible to see the dark bottom. Intrigued by the apparent endlessness of the descent, down I go. Immediately immersed in darkness, I rush downward looking back only once to see a tiny little hole of light high above. I enjoy the descent into cool darkness. It is invigorating and refreshing.

I discover bright cheerfulness.

Here I am at the lower end of the great sandstone stair far into the abyss and there is light and happiness all around. Some beautiful Daisy's look at me with happy faces. Lichen covered sandstone boulders and great trees tower above me. A cool breeze blowing whispers of pungent aromatic moss covered earth awakens a new awareness within me. I am at the bottom and I shall have to climb out.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Reuben Burgess All rights reserved