The Waterfall

Few who had ever marveled at its awesome splendour as the water cascaded down onto the rocks below would ever have guessed at its modest origins. But there, back in the quiet of the birch and aspen forest, sat a small, glimmering pond. At one time this place had been just a small hollow, with a small running trickle of water borrowed from the sun-melted snows and summer rains.

Thus it had remained, until a pair of young beaver had arrived. With their sharp chisel-like teeth they had gnawed and chipped at the surrounding timber, felling one tree, then another, then another . . . From these, the beaver had stripped the many branches and twigs and entwined them with bits of mud and leaves to form a dam. Not a small accomplishment, and one that would provide them with a home and an escape from predators as they continued their daily adventures.

The beaver had long since gone now, leaving behind the rotting stumps of felled trees intermixed with the shoots of new growth. Also left behind was the dam that had served them so well. Time had taken its toll, through the many seasons of spring floods and winter freezes, the drying sun and the thundering rainstorms. Still, although some of the sticks had rotted away and leaks were evident, the dam still held back water as it had done so many years before. It was from this subtle beginning that the waterfall began.

Working its way through dislodged twigs and loose grains of dirt and sand, each tiny droplet embarked on a journey. Once through the dam, they formed a thousand rivulets which worked their way over fallen leaves and through developed passages. Gradually banding together, they became several small channels, all flowing together, binding, becoming one strong stream. From here, the current began to move faster as it traveled. Joined by a smaller streamlet here and there in its continuing journey, the water bumped over and around small logs, carrying leaves, and cascading over small polished stones. Around corners and bends, through riffles and into shallow pools, the droplets wound their way along, each following the main stream. The pace quickened now, faster and faster, until they came to a final large pool. From there the course seemed to end, for ahead lay only a drop off the edge. Scared and unsure, the droplets milled around and around in the pool, not knowing where to go. Finally, knowing they couldn’t go back, each tiny droplet crept to the edge . . . and leaped.

Flying, falling through the air, millions of droplets formed a cascade, thundering down on the rocks three hundred feet below. A glimmering sheet of water, forming a spray, caught the sun’s light and reflected it, creating a rainbow. Such a beautiful display made the water drops continue their journey – not knowing where their destiny lay, only that it continued ahead.

Mike 18/10/81