A few miles from my grandmother’s farm is a work of art so profound yet unabashedly simple. It’s a piece of nature that’s all but hidden in complete isolation from the world around it.
It’s called Indian Falls. If you follow Brumfield Lane as it twists northward from Sugar Creek Pike, you’ll eventually come to a clear spot where you can observe distant hillsides from a point that’s much higher than the landscape below. In current times it’s mostly overgrown with brush and weeds. It was once a local hiking spot for people who knew about it, but it gradually became a place for bored people to cause trouble. Rumors are out there that someone fell from a cliff and died. I know there is at least one car in the bottom that had no way of getting there other than to fall off the same cliff by the clearing in the road.
The pictures I’ve posted are from August of 2007 when my dad and I hiked out there. At the time, just a year before the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, a developer had acquired the surrounding land and had planned to build homes with properties joining Indian Falls. It was stated that part of the project would be to clean up and improve access to Indian Falls for the residents. Sadly, that developer went bankrupt as did the plans to revitalize the Falls.
But what on Earth is so special about this place? Why did I call it a work of art?
Well, it’s a tiny section of land where a small creek has cut a narrow gorge that’s more than a few hundred feet deep in places. The creek left stair steps in the limestone at the narrow end so the water falls down over the steps into the wider more open area that eventually ends next to an open field. It’s stunning in its beauty and yet it’s more or less surrounded by farmland. The layers of rock are the very same from which those springs I mentionned in my last post emerge. As far as we knew, it was illegal for my dad and I to be down in there, and we never let my grandmother know we went in. She knew of Indian Falls, had seen it years ago and was convinced that it was so dangerous that few who travel in make it out alive. I believe she was terrified of the place.
Yet, there it was, calling to us then as it does now. Every time I drive past it I want to go back in. The hike in there was sketchy as there are plenty of roots, cliffs, rocks, and no improvements such as handrails. One slip, and you’ll either wind up with some bumps and bruises or you’ll slide all the way off the cliff, down to the rocks below. It’s just high enough to be fatal if you slip in the wrong place.
But down in the bottom is a scene of near pure tranquility, save for the old piece of Detroit steel left behind by someone who needed to dispose of a car quickly. The car has an odd interesting quality about it itself, all overgrown with vegetation. It doesn’t belong, yet nature keeps trying to take it back.
Those stairsteps. Someday I’ll climb those too. In the meantime I’ll just wonder about what lies above them. Some other scene of natural beauty or an empty builder’s lot.