Saturday, December 31, 2016

dappled things

Watching waterfalls, it is easy to be transfixed by the crashing of the water into the rocks below. But if you look above that scene of liquid disaster and flying spray, there is a scene of timeless joy right above it. If you watch, you can follow a group of droplets as it free-falls from the river, through the air, as it tumbles towards the tooth-like rocks that jut up to greet the stream as it splashes on the stone's knife edges.

That moment, as the water falls is a moment of frozen time. The water leaps from the river bed, tumbling through the air. Some of it is wicked away by wind and becomes spray. But some of it is drawn towards the rocks below, like iron towards a magnet. Wavering in the air, the water seems to be tied to no path. But it falls. Gravity pulls it down to continue its journey. It keeps falling over and over and over again.

And it seems impossible each time. Those water droplets, flying through the air, suspended before a moment before they fall, might go anywhere.

But they fall. They splash. They crash into the rocks that have also fallen from the ledge above.

It's a newer way to look at waterfalls, for me. To look not at the roar but at the silent, frozen tumble of the droplets before the crash.

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