(Turkey Run State Park, Marshall, Indiana, United States)
By Sana Szewczyk
It’s peaceful in the deep
Cathedral where you cannot breathe
No need to pray, no need to speak
Now I am under all…
-Florence and the Machine, Never Let Me Go
My fingers slowly trace every coarse crevice and sharp edge as I close my eyes to feel the foliage embedded in the stratospheres of cool sandstone. I immediately surrender to my other senses as I breathe in the smell of early summer: fresh damp ferns, budding trees, blooming wild flowers, the moist rock, soft wet earth under my feet, and fresh rain water dripping from the edges of the gorge. The experience is mystical as I stand in awe of the ancient canyon, a place like no other that has not changed its microclimate since its origin in Pleistocene era. An Echo lives in the moss-covered canyon and turns every sound of the forest of magnificent walnut and sycamore trees above into thousands of whispers carried by the wind. The voices of my husband, Justin, and my two children, Maxwell and Makenzie, also echo off the canyon’s walls as we hold the children’s hands tightly to help them jump over puddles, fallen trees, and up onto the rocks along the path.
I slowly open my eyes to marvel at the view spreading in front of me as I gaze into Turkey Run Hollow. I look fifty feet up to the rim of the canyon and see small pieces of thistledown floating down and reflecting the sun beams which are forbidden from entering the cool bottom of the ravine. I admire the mossy walls of the gorge which at times are so close that I am almost able to stretch my arms and touch them on each side. The canyon is iridescent with all shades of green: tea green, teal, emerald, feldgrau, jade, and malachite. I look even higher up and I can see a bridge suspended high above my head. I, a freshly converted “creek stomping” worshipper, surrender to the breathtaking beauty of this natural Cathedral where time stopped millions of years ago. I just spread my arms wide and dance, moving on and on through the canyon repeating a simple prayer, an expression of awe mixed with laughter, over and over to my family: “My God, my God…Do you see it?! Do you see it?! I did not know there was such a place in Indiana.”
The canyon leads us to a small sandy beach along Sugar Creek where the outlets of several glacier shaped gorges meet. We climb up the steps of raw rock disturbing the peace of only one large toad hidden deep in his burrow on our way up. The construction of the steps reminds me of the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. We arrive at Sunset Point which overlooks the river and groups of college kids in colorful kayaks and canoes calling one another. We continue on to a wooden cabin, Lieber Cabin, which is located behind the Turkey Run Inn. As we walk along the ground surrounding the hotel we notice chairs on the lawn in the shade of pine trees decorated with wild flowers, ready and awaiting a wedding ceremony. Some people find love here, and I found my home. Many times I question my decision to move from Poland to Indiana and very few places have felt like home to me in my new country until now. I look at the faces of my small children, their eyes widened with wonder, and I already know that this is a place that has deeply touched my heart, a place I will come back to when searching for peace and everlasting gratitude.
About the Author: Sana Szewczyk, a native of Poland, earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Linguistics from Indiana University and MBA in Human Resources Management from Indiana Institute of Technology. Her stories have appeared in over sixty publications. Her first collection of stories, “Under a Ginkgo Tree & Other Stories,” was released in February 2012. She lives in Indiana with her husband and two children. For more information visit: www.sanaszewczyk.webs.com