Surely this waterfall must be out West somewhere…bear with me as my imagination takes a little walk, thanks to John Singer Sargent……..
Just a little after noontime–it was springtime if I remember right–I was out wandering up the mountainside. I had brought my lunch; and already had enjoyed it very much, sitting down in the shade of a precariously overhanging boulder streaked with black mold and dotted with flat lichen on its underbelly.
I was thoroughly enjoying my holiday, striking out to make it to the top of the rocky summit and back before dusk. I had done that once before, when I first moved here five years ago, but that time I had had eight other people with me. The rocky hillside would have practically rang with their voices that entire day, if it had not been for the wind. But this time I was alone–and, for once, was enjoying the silence, if one can call a constantly rushing wind silence.
Anyways, I had finished my solitary luncheon a half hour ago and was pushing my way towards the top, where the sun was bright in my face, throwing its hot, brilliant beams into my face through the cleft in the rock just above me. It was then that I began to hear something besides the torrents of wind. I puzzled about this for only half a second before I remembered the waterfall. Of course! The waterfall was something I particularly wanted to see today, but in the pleasure of the moment had forgotten it….
I went off the path, going towards the sound. It was not long until I found it–sparkling, noisy, cool, dangerous, delightful, beckoning, treacherous, small, yet seemingly immense in this waterless land. It reminded me of a magnificent waterfall back East that I had seen one time in the green woods of home…. This one paled in comparison….
But it was the most beautiful thing in the world to me right now. The sun touched the heaving mass of liquid here and there, diluting the brightness of its glance in the bowels of the snowmelt rushing through the narrow, notched gorge. It was cool up here and the shadows over the water were positively cold–but winter was past for another year, for sure.
I could barely see into the shadows higher up where I was headed because of the blinding spectacle before me. It seemed an hour that I stood, transfixed, gazing into the laughing water. At first I was solemn and prayed. Then I sang a happy little ditty I made up on the spot. Then I could not help myself. I laughed for pure joy at the sight, picked up a few little rocks at my feet, and threw them into the splashing course….
Then the wind picked up, reminding me of the few short hours I had until dusk. Shaken out of my reverie, I took a final long look at the waterfall that had brought me so much joy by nothing more than the sight of it, lifted my eyes to the top of the hill, and set off again. I didn’t look back, because I didn’t want to spoil my last view of that glorious little waterfall. And I never saw it again.
Things are like that in life–when there is something beautiful, enjoy it–but don’t try to keep things from changing…or pine over things that are past. Like that waterfall, life, and the things in it, move along. Don’t be blinded by the beauty of the moment and forget where you are going. Remember loveliness, but don’t worship it. Savor goodness, but always strive for better. Love righteousness, but don’t become a legalist. God is bigger than we are–yes, even greater than we can imagine….