I'm not the only person in this corner of the world that refers to Garretson as South Dakota's "best kept secret." This out of the way haven for the traveler is commonly known by that title.
Folks are always amazed to find it and then quickly tell all of their friends and make plans to return. Seventeen years ago I made the discovery while rolling down "less traveled" two lanes.
Pastor's are always on fairly thin budgets, especially while raising a family of five, and I was out looking for places to take the kids camping. Very close by there is a large state park, Palisades is its name, and it wasn't too far out from the parish I was serving. The park is filled to capacity on weekends, but that has never been a concern for me, our camping is always done on Monday through Wednesday. The water does not always flow over the dam as you see it here. In the early part of summer you can expect to be greeted by this wonderful vision of rushing water and the sound of it crashing down from the top. Later in the year it will slow, and then there are years that it stops entirely for months. This is a great year here in this personal place of peace! Tuesday I was tempted to get out in the midst of the water coming down. Out where the fish are trying to get back up that have recently been washed over. They try for awhile to get back to where they came from, but that is impossible, their time above the dam is gone forever and they must move downstream or perish. Cheryl told me that I can't be going out in the crashing water anymore(her last time out there with me was about 8 years ago and she has not forgotten the feeling of fearing for her life)because I need to take care of myself. Lol....I didn't respond to her concerns, after all, if we're still out there exploring the backroads on a two wheeled suicide machine, why would we concern ourselves with the unseen perils of a little water. It just feels so good to be under that crashing, frothing force of life! One can scramble quickly over the slippery, moss covered slabs below to lay flat on the warm rocks and actually feel the vibrations created by nature's force, just close enough that some of the spray bathes your body intermittently, depending on wind drift. And then there is the scent which is like no other, the air all around is filled with the fog of vapor and one can actually taste the water with each breath. My favorite, though, is out toward the center, sitting under the cascading sheets, looking "through" them and feeling the sheer power and might of an essential part of life. I guess that is where the peace is for me, right there in the middle of that experience! I pray that you find that "peace" in your lives. We all need to find the place that is right for us to feel at peace with the world and at one with God's creation. The kids grew up with a dad that was constantly serching for, "more" of life. Like those fish that get washed over the top of the dam, never to return, I often got caught up in the sweeping waters and learned that once over the top there was no going back. Everyone experiences the same general family of emotions when they enter an unknown like this river, but not all revel in it. That's why if you don't have a place of peace you need to keep searching until you do find one that "fits" you. My kids never forgot, and now I get to go back and do it all over again with grand children. I can just hear my lovely bride now, "that is far too dangerous for a four year old, and for you. You're not as young as you used to be!" Who is? Yup, I am looking forward to that spot out there in the middle, laughing and giggling with my grands as the water washes over us. We get to learn together the great secrets of life and find our place of peace. Some find their peace high up on the bank looking down from the safety afforded by distance, others want to get over to that sunny flat rock and lay against it. One might not want to mention to the children that there are cliffs that can be climbed and jumps to be made into cold, deep water close by. They'll find those places, too, when the time is right(Cheryl would freak if I showed her that). Me, I want to get out there where it is totally "happening!" Seek and you shall find. God bless, Preacher.