Cunningham Falls shawl
Thursday September 27th 2007, 3:22 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

When I was a kid, one of my favorite spots in the whole wide world was Cunningham Falls State Park. We would picnic by the creek, noisy water over rocks in the quiet trees, and then take a hike in the woods, Mom and Dad telling us about the birds and animals in there. I remember looking for beavers, but the beavers weren’t dumb, and none of them ever showed their faces for six young kids scrambling happily around through their territory.

A few years ago, I was back visiting for my parents’ 50th anniversary. My old buddy KC started talking about Cunningham Falls. It was a few miles’ hike to get all the way up to the waterfalls in the hillside well above the picnic area, and I told her sadly that there was no way these days. I used to racewalk four miles or so a day, back when my kids were little, but the old gray mare she ain’t what she used to be no matter how she might feel about that.

Heh. KC had a way around that. She lived out not far from there these days, and knew the roads better than I ever did. This one state road, if you turn the wrong direction, you have highly armed personnel extremely interested in what the *$# you think you’re doing there. (I am told that one of my in-laws goofed and found that out once.) Uh, yeah, a certain presidential retreat in the mountains of western Maryland, made famous by a certain peace accord back in the day… Don’t go there.

But. Go on up the road, up the endless hill, way past the entrance to the state park, on the other side from that retreat. You’re still in the park. There’s a cutout from the road, made into a small parking area: handicap only. There’s a raised wooden walkway, and nobody seems to know it’s there except the occasional passing car. (And out in the middle of nowhere like that, there aren’t a whole lot of those.) You hang your out-of-state placard, figuring nobody will mind that it says California, you get out, you read the Park Service sign explaining a bit about the area, and you walk or wheel–I’ve done both, now–down that slightly-raised walkway (up so as not to disturb the tree roots, and planked so a wheelchair can get through), and shortly you come to where, at a turn in the path, the falls suddenly surprise you, coming up right there in front of you. Water, tumbling and splashing down a long granite face. Usually, nobody else is there. Just a quiet bit of glory-of-this-earth all to yourselves.

The woods are deep green, with splashes of white sunlight on the path and bits of ground showing here and there between the fallen leaves. Gray rock above.

I found this dark green Zephyr silk blend in my stash, and a ball of Claudia’s Handpaint silk in white/turquoise/teal/deep gray. It instantly said “KC!” at me; I wasn’t sure why, till I swatched a swatch, liked it, thought, okay, and started in on this shawl. I wondered if she liked variegated yarns; I debated starting over with a plain color.

But it wasn’t too many rows before the yarn was telling me why it was what it was, and why it needed to be for KC. Cunningham Falls. A way to get through, a friend finding the path I didn’t know was there, bits of light coming through alongside moments of looking at the dark, acknowledging it square in the eye: loss and love, lived with, and it’s okay that it’s like that. And always, the growing, living green of the trees.Cunningham Falls shawl, begun

6 Comments so far
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What a pretty green! How you find the poetry in life astonishes me. I feel like I bumble around ignoring all kinds of stuff when I read your entries….

Comment by Carol 09.27.07 @ 7:57 pm

That sounds like a fabulous place. You are making me want to go there. What a wonderful friend to find a way for you still to enjoy it. Love the shawl colors too!

Comment by Allison 09.27.07 @ 9:10 pm

Another memory in common- we used to picnic and hike at Cunningham Falls too! Also at Carderock Rec on the C & O canal. Wonder if it has changed after all these years. hmmm….

Comment by Bev 09.28.07 @ 12:08 pm

She loves varigated yarns and that color! It is one of her favorite ones to wear…that’s why it screamed KMC to you! Amy showed me the picture.
😉 Love to wander in the hills up there. We’ll go when you get here, if you want to. And Cactoctin Mt. Orchard has WONDERFUL gala apples now.

Comment by Karen 09.28.07 @ 5:22 pm

I. Can’t. WAIT!!!

Comment by AlisonH 09.28.07 @ 5:26 pm

So sad. “Pets are prohibited in the Houck Area …and at the Falls, including pets in vehicles.”

Pets are *not* prohibited at Carderock, however, and I was there with my dog Mr. Scruff a few short months ago. On a weekday morning, about all that was happening was Petanque.There was no shortage of picnic ares!

Comment by Robin 10.01.07 @ 4:35 pm

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