Niagara Falls was my first.
My family took an end-of-summer vacation there in 1974. I remember being excited about trip because my parents had gone for there for their honeymoon. I’m not sure exactly how much I understood about honeymoons at nine years old, but it seemed important. I wanted to stay in the same hotel and go where they went. The falls were secondary. I had no idea that trip would mark the beginning of my love affair with waterfalls.
The magnitude and volume of the Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the three falls that make up Niagara, blew my nine year-old mind. Even now I can’t quite find the words to describe the awe I felt. I would have been content to stand on the observation deck the entire trip. Of course, I was not nearly as thrilled with the behind the falls tour that descend 150 feet behind the falls. The yellow ponchos issued to each tourist hardly seemed adequate protection for 100,000 cubic feet per second flow of water over the falls. The trauma of the tour notwithstanding, seeing Niagara falls for the first time was by far one of the most magical moments in my childhood. So much so that as a parent I couldn’t wait to relive that moment with my own children. But unfortunately, they weren’t as impressed. Millennials!
Nonetheless, Niagara Falls maintained it’s special place in my heart until I discovered this waterfall on a hike near my house.
Every time I see it, I take a picture. Consequently, there are tons of photos on my phone and even more on my computer taken with my Canon. No single picture completely captures the beauty of the water tumbling over the edge of cliff. It’s mesmerizing. It easily supplanted Niagara falls as my favorite waterfall. It feels more intimate and personal.
Last month, my husband and I spent a weekend driving from waterfall to waterfall in Highland, North Carolina. I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. At one point, I actually jumped up and down with excitement. I couldn’t’ help but wonder why waterfalls create such a visceral feeling in my soul. Is it the sound of the rushing water? Is it the gentle mist in the air? Or nature that surround it? Or maybe it’s the way I feel when I’m there?
I feel God’s majesty and grace. There is a deep sense of peace. I am one with the flow.
The last pictures I took of my son before he died were at the Roswell Mill waterfall. In one photo, he was stretched out on a rock with his head threw back and the water rushed over him. He seemed at peace. There was no evidence of turmoil he must have felt battling his depression.
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. …I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
Recently, while walking along the Chattahoochee river trail, I noticed a little waterfall that I hadn’t ever seen before.
It lifted my spirits and made me smile. I think TLC got it wrong. We should all chase waterfalls.