The 33 degree water stung as it usually does when it hovers just barely above freezing, but at least the river was ice free. Bright emerald algae covers sheltered areas of water smoothed rock. I can make out the name “John” carved into the bedrock bottom since a growth of algae fills the slight depressions of the letters that keeps it just barely out of the scouring flow.
I wonder if this is something historic or just a more recent piece of graffiti. This site is rich with history and the geography that keeps drawing me to this place year round also drew the first industrialists. This falls was one of the reasons the first foundries in North America was founded on the banks. The energy that I am working to hold against is the same energy that supplied this furnace, established in 1720.
Rockweed sprigs still cling to the rock in thin patches where they haven’t been scoured out. In a few months they will be luxuriant thick green growth. But even in their sparse state they still affect the stream bottom and each patch traps a mound of gravel in spite of their weak appearance. The frail looking dark brown sprigs hold gravel against the current, and finer sands also accumulate in the lee of the larger pebbles. Dunes of gravel and sand form, all caused by a few pieces of weak looking unattractive late winter rockweed. It’s amazing how a few loosely connected plants can affect the stream. Maybe that’s a lesson for us.
I barely hold on and watch the rock weed capture gravel flowing over the falls in a loud, cold, and chaotic place. It is harsh. This river scape could easily be a world on a distant planet, it is so alien. But it is just the norm for late winter, and soon this place will be transformed with spring.