Monday, February 9, 2015

21. Waterfalls

Before we get on to the waterfalls, I just want to share this photograph I somehow overlooked all this time. I think this is from Trail Days. It would belong in the Hiker Fashion post, but that's long past. So, instead, I will put it here. It fits in with the Waterfall theme because it gives me waterfalls of laughter tears from my eyeballs. VELCOME TO ZEE ART HAUS LEG HAIR TIRE SHOW.
When I was in middle school, I was not easily influenced by my peers. I was much more concerned with wearing the exact same black velvet cardigan every day and never showering. This isn't to say that I was immune to middle school peer pressure. Quite the opposite, in fact! I wanted very badly to be able to fit in! But I just did it all wrong. It was a little bit like an octopus trying to fit in with a group of dolphins by flailing its tentacles around manically and flopping in and out of the ocean surf. No matter how gloriously all those tentacles windmill in slow motion against the backdrop of a setting sun, it will never be as majestic as dolphins jumping. 

I have a vivid memory of bringing a Smashing Pumpkins cassette to a sleepover, where all the other girls were taking turns playing New Kids on the Block and TLC. I remember telling them "This is gonna blow your mind!" and then I put on "An Ode to No One" and I was politely asked turn it off before it even got to the chorus. I didn't do it to be subversive! I sincerely thought the poetry was really beautiful! 

An octopus is not a dolphin.

I also remember being subjected to listening to TLC's "Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls." Of course I was hypnotized by the beat, and due to the aforementioned desperation to fit in, I decided that I liked it.  But I also remember thinking quietly to myself "These words make absolutely NO SENSE." I just assumed that it was some sort of cool, popular kid thing that I would understand once I was cooler.


The words literally make no sense.

But let's give TLC the benefit of the doubt, shall we? Let's pretend that chasing waterfalls is a metaphor for never being happy with what you have, and constantly looking for something better. It's another way of saying "Yeah, maybe the grass is always greener on the other side, but don't fall for that crap!" Just stick with the rivers and the lakes like you're used to. JUST BE HAPPY THAT YOU ARE NOT DEHYDRATED. JEEZ.

However, there is something to be said for a waterfall versus just a river. I already wrote about having access to beautiful, clean mountain water. But my delight at coming across a nice water source was very different from my delight at coming across a waterfall. The substance is the same... it's still just water. However, a waterfall is just epic. What makes it epic? It... falls down really fast through the open air! It's a visual representation of the power of gravity! Also, sometimes there are rainbows!

When you spend all your time in the wilderness, you are just more likely to run across a waterfall than in your daily life. Maybe your office building has a little decorative fountain, and sure, that's good for staring at blankly while you eat your lunch. But it pales in comparison to the sheer, raw, literally awesome power of a waterfall. 

I'm sure there are long distance hikes in which waterfalls are not as plentiful, but a super cool one happened at least once a month along the AT. I never tired of them, and I was always enchanted. 

Also, I was invariably compelled to stick my face in them.

Will this make my hair wet?

Why, yes it will!

If you glance at this one really quickly you can convince yourself that the rock
 in the foreground is a giant, coiled up boa constrictor. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Tiny Clever Girl!

Slightly larger but still tiny Clever Girl!

No Clever Girl

Frozen waterfalls... My face sums up my feelings about the color of this water.

DT loves that long exposure!

"I will harness the power of this water...

Whistle says: "Mpphhrggle."

Clever Girl

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