Cummins Falls, a gem in need of protection, drops precipitously into a gorge which left me breathless. Our guide to the falls led me on a quick walk to see some painting spots; I followed her as closely as I dared, (twentysomething mountain goat that she is) my attention divided between my footing and the astounding views of falling water.
We came out of the woods onto a wide ledge of rock -- I had been expecting to be somewhere near the bottom of the falls -- but we stood on a lip at the top of the cascade, swaying above a void seventy-five feet deep. Then I made the mistake of looking... not down, but up at the route we had taken. How had we done that? How would I ever get back??
Vertigo gripping my knees, I took out my camera and made excuses about photography while frantically scanning for an alternate route. Happy ending: I did make it back up to the top of the canyon, and lost my vertigo in the euphoria of painting such beauty.
Painting outdoors is so different from studio painting -- invigorating and challenging, it forces the artist to make quick decisions and hope for the best. Even more of a challenge is water... and falling water tops the list! This was fun. I'll do it again!
If you're interested in Cummins Falls, here is their website: http://tenngreen.org/?p=267