Thursday, November 20, 2008

Watson Falls

Mist filters past us
Driven by playful puffs of wind
Collecting on angel noses,
Dripping off ecstatic chins

From dark to open light
With rainbow rays of praise
Dancing around shadows
Swirling deep with timeless phrase

Forever tumbling, sparkling
Finding paths of least resistance
Heading t'ward full oceans
From some expansive distance

Sheer curtains of endless power
And opaque, dynamic glow
Merge in rhythmic, cyclic cadence
To pound loudly far below

And through the chaos at the bottom
Order is restored
Settling out 'round mossy boulders
Resumes a stream that we can ford

We spent the next several days of our trip in my old stomping grounds--the southern Cascade Mountains in Oregon, around Crater Lake NP. I spent my earliest "hidden years" there, climbing trees, building forts, running up and down game trails, romping around our secluded hydroelectric power camp. There were ten houses in our camp, plus the building where my dad worked, a school for the 40 1st-8th Graders who lived in our camp and the USFS camp a few miles up the road, and housing for our two teachers and the principal/teacher/bus driver/janitor/Phy Ed instructor and his wife, the librarian. There were three classrooms, the library, a gym, a playground and a ball field. Since there weren't very many of us, we had to modify game rules in order to play sports, and we square-danced for Phy Ed every Friday (so that was dress day... By third grade I was a total tomboy and hated to wear dresses, but my mom made me a square dance dress I loved!). We had all music and band classes on the same day of the week--the day the music teacher came to camp. Town was 60 miles away.

For me, it was an idyllic life. I liked to read Pippi Longstocking and Nancy Drew tales (our small library had almost all of Carolyn Keene's series), but I really connected with sweet Heidi of the Swiss Alps, reading her story over and over. I agreed with her that high in the mountains was the place to live, and I was steadfastly resistant (on the inside--had to acquiesce on the outside...) when my parents chose to move us to a large town just before I started 6th Grade.

Watson, Whitehorse, and Clearwater Falls were just a few minutes' drive from camp, and we visited them frequently. Huckleberry season, morel and coral mushroom season, deer and elk hunting, fishing, and wood-cutting season all beckoned us their way. I guess we were hunters-and-gatherers, living simply in the midst of some of God's most spectacular scenery.

But I was completely grown before I ever actually got in Watson Falls. I had long dreamed of daring it, but it's not an easy act. The water plunges 272 feet in a sort of "cathedral amphitheatre" of columnar basalt, landing in a shallow pool strewn with boulders. It's perfectly clear and paralyzingly cold, and the pelting curtain moves--a long, slow swirl, kind of like water swirling down a funnel (except pelting!). In an exhilarating, kind of "last act" together before my brother got married and life changed, he took my hand, pulled me up and past the trail, and led me straight into the torrent at the bottom of the falls. That dousing was defining--one of the most freeing, joyful experiences of my life. It is standing in the presence of Almighty God and being washed clean! I danced... 

And it was on my "must do" list to pass that experience forward to our kids during our recent trip. They were quite eager and intrepid to do this wild, extraordinary thing, and we had a blast. But it illustrated a different concept for them. It gave them a whole new appreciation for the concept of honoring their parents. My husband and I have since enjoyed being viewed as a valuable part of the fabric of the umbrella God provides to protect them from our enemy's fiery darts!

1 comment:

Far Side of Fifty said...

Lattice, Absolutely beautiful recollections, past and present! I love your stories! :)