Monday, September 2, 2013

Water Falls

The wallet sat overnight on the windowsill, emptied of its contents. The damp and wrinkled images of Lincoln, Jefferson and Jackson lay next to one another in silent contemplation. The receipt from the bank had disintegrated beyond recognition.

The first raindrops had arrived as our group of six took pictures to celebrate reaching the top of our climb.

Trying to get to the summit, we had encountered the remnants of recent storms. The steep rock scramble, which seemed to stretch almost from beginning to end of our journey, was filled with decisions made more difficult by small rivulets of water.  Many steps were a little more tenuous, a little more considered, as the possibility of an ugly slip and slide was waiting to welcome the first mistake.

Apart from the somewhat constant reminder that much of the trip back would be derriere driven to avoid the nastiest of falls, there was nothing to dampen our spirits and our expectations.

As we gathered at the apex I noticed how much more of my shirt was damp with perspiration than I had anticipated. My wife, diminutive all over, advised that even her cleavage was wet.

Within a few moments after the first  hint of the deluge that was to come, we decided that being on exposed rock at the top of this hill was not, for many reasons, the ideal locale.  Even before we were fully off the crest, the skies opened in earnest. Those large drops that had a moment before been so isolated that you could respond to each one, now arrived in torrents. It was like an invasion.

It was the type of downpour where being soaked is an instantaneous process. The water that fell from the top of my head, down my forehead and into my eyes, came in sheets. My contact lenses were no match and momentarily I was half blind, looking through a haze while trying to calculate my next move. Glasses fogged up and were rendered useless.  And then there were the rocks.

Waterfalls. Waterfalls. It was beautiful, in an ugly kind of way if you were faced with the task of meandering in and around them through a lengthy and deep descent.  The rocks had now become home to a statement of the full meaning of the storm.

We acted as a team,  the better of the climbers going first and shouting directions as to the whys and wherefores. "Go to the left, there is a foothold there, and then sit and slide the rest of the way".  "Hold onto the tree on the right." The rain was not lessening in its enthusiasm.

It is not possible for a photograph to capture the essence of this moment. The descent loses its intensity, the weight of the clothes clinging to the body can't be felt, the strength of the storm  and the cascading waters is diminished and the joy of being in the middle of all this insanity is impossible to locate.

There were the occasional, inevitable, unintended posterior landings.  A few minor bumps here and there, but remarkably few. We managed to weather the worst of it, and by the time we reached the bottom, as if the gods had been watching, the rain stopped and the sun began to peek a boo through.

I noticed how much water had gathered in my shoes. The relatively flat section that took us out to our cars was filled with small reminders of what we had just encountered.  Small streams that we had forded by walking on the rocks and sticks that assisted us a couple of hours before had to be crossed without those now submerged aids. But, being soaked from stem to stern has certain advantages and I walked through without fear of unwanted moisture reaching unintended places.

Driving away, my friend turned on the air conditioning in his car to try, so he reasoned to dry us out. We covered the seats to limit the effects of what we had just been through.  Yet, every inch of each of us understood the details with full clarity.

There is a kind of sadness in recounting this tale only because it necessarily means it is now only part of my recall and historical perspective.  The waterfalls of yesterday  now only cascade in my mind.


Anonymous said...

you summed it up beautifully! Our boots still sit next to the dehumidifier, as wet as they were yesterday!

Anonymous said...

And because you write with such clarity the waterfalls cascade for us too....thanks for the adventure and the memory sharing!

Michael said...

Great adventures even in the Berkshires!