The Power of Nature & Our Human Frailness

Garnet Rock Beach under water
Garnet Rock Beach under water

It’s so easy to forget that we as humans are not the center of the universe. We all too often get caught up in everyday worldly affairs and as life passes us by, we sometimes fail to notice all of the natural beauty (and natural power) around us.

Even though we live in the country each and every day, I must admit that we too sometimes take the natural world and Mother Nature for granted. This morning was a stark, yet beautiful reminder of our human frailty when matched with the power of nature.

For about a week we’ve had off-and-on rains in Central New York (CNY) and yesterday proved that should one be capable of doing so, the building of an Ark would have been in order. With near-record rainfall within a 24 hour period, a mini-monsoon hit CNY blessing us with more moisture than our ecosystem is accustomed to. Being that Wellnesste borders the famous East Branch of Fish Creek (a world-class whitewater river); the downpour only meant one thing: flood alert.

The lower fields and Garnet Rock Beach had not previously been touched by flood waters since the great rains five years ago (following Hurricane Katrina). At that time, the river decided to overflow from its traditional banks and create a small riverette in the lower fields, which subsided within 24 hours.

Awakening this morning with windows ajar for fresh air, we could hear the thundering rumble of water-slapping-shale-valley-walls and knew that something unusual had arrived. Dawning camera, shorts and Tevas, Sophie (our 7 year old daughter) and I (with our 2 year old loyal mutt Ottie following closely behind) set off to explore. We soon discovered that our human-handiwork of building a cozy sand beach adjacent to the river (which has been standing strong for years) was in peril.

Ahh… life’s lessons and our human frailty shown to us in 3D! Pictures do not do the event justice as millions of gallons of hydrogen and oxygen combined atoms (H2O) whizzed by at faster-than-we-could-blink speeds. There were whole trees (some undoubtedly weighing thousands of pounds) floating away in the whitewater current as if they were match sticks. Our little beach, which had taken me about a week to build by hand years ago and accompanying Adirondack Chairs were now 3 feet under water with a steady current flowing over them and onto the lower fields. The river’s waters that had crested over the bank undulated through the lower fields like a slick serpent following the path of least resistance and eventually forked into two small streams about ten feet wide and three feet deep. The murky waters (some murkiness likely caused by the sand that once blessed our beach) was rushing by as we imagined the dorsal fins of trout and salmon passing along heading back towards the main river.

That’s the most powerfullest thing I ever saw,” exclaimed Sophie as she performed a spontaneous flood dance amidst the flood waters. I think that about summed up the feeling right then and there… the most powerfullest thing. So today, as I sit in the comfort of Black Bear Cabin in anticipation for this weekend's annual Halloween Party, I feel humbled once again by the power of Nature. Despite computers, the internet, modern construction and all of mankind’s accomplishments… we are all here just for a short while and Mother Nature reminds us from time to time that we are not the center of the universe!