The Waterfalls


Visiting a waterfall, especially on a hot sultry day, can be a favorite way to spend a day. You get in your car, drive for miles, then get out and walk the remainder of the way to a waterfall. Civilization has cleared and marked a pathway for you and the many thousands like you that have also come to enjoy these named landmarks. Rarely do you get to enjoy the natural beauty of one by just stepping out into your own backyard.

Behind my house, barely noticeable, is a trail leading through the woods to a waterfall. The trail is narrow but well worn. Any shrubbery that would have grown has been trampled down and all that is left is a very narrow path, overhung with branches from the trees that mark its sides. As I start down the trail, I begin to feel the trees closing around me until the house can no longer be seen. I follow the trail to where it stops at the creek\'s edge, approaching quietly so as not to disturb any of the wild creatures that has come to enjoy the cool fresh water.

I gently cross over the creek using the stones, which show the wear of several previous crossing, so that I can have full view of the creek and the beauty it possesses. I can hear the rush of the water long before I see the falls. As I sit down on the big gray slate rock that has been warmed by the early morning sun, I begin to gulp in the beauty as a starving man would gulp down food. I start my usual ritual of examining the banks of the creek by gazing down the right side of it first. I notice that the wild azaleas are in full bloom and that the trees have regained all their leaves. They stand tall and majestic as if they are soldiers standing guard. My gaze travels up one of the trees to find two squirrels chattering down at me as if to say "Go away and leave us in peace." Further down starts the gentle bend that takes the remainder of the creek from my view.

My gaze shifts to the left side of the bank and there lies an old oak tree that has fallen long ago. It still lies partially upon its stump so that it looks like the shape of an "L". Two ducks are using it for a resting perch. I continue my perusal up the bank to the dogwood trees. Their beauty is awesome. Their branches, filled with ivory white blossoms, stretch across the creek as if trying to touch the other side. They remind me of an archway, waiting for someone to walk beneath them. Standing alongside the bank is a beautiful doe with her newborn fawn. She flicks her ears and raises her nose to the air as if to catch my scent. I do not move hoping that she will stay just a bit longer. After she dashes away, my eyes continue their assault of the banks. Slowly it comes into focus, the thing that has drawn me here day after day. The waterfall!

As I gaze at it, I can feel the coolness and the power of the water as it rushes over the rocks and into the pool ten feet below. I lay back on my rock and see that the trees have opened their leaves to allow me a view of the sky. The sky is an azure blue with white pillowy clouds.

I close my eyes and listen to the sound of the waterfall and let it lure me into that nowhere land that makes me feel as if I totally alone, the lone survivor on this planet. My mind goes oblivious to everything except for the rushing sound of the water. Slowly other sounds begin to filter through. I hear the birds singing, the squirrels still chattering away as I continue to lie there totally at peace with myself.

It seems as if only seconds have passed but I know that it must be hours because I can no longer feel the warmth of the sun. Slowly I rise, knowing that I must start