Two years ago, we went on this hike, to Panther Creek Falls. And I said I wanted to go back. So, a few weeks ago, we did. The water was too cold, and weather too chilly for getting in the water…at least for me.
But when I read this passage by Annie Dillard, I thought about the last time I had gone there, and sat under the waterfall.
"What does it feel like to be alive?
"Living, you stand under a waterfall. You leave the sleeping shore deliberately; you shed your dusty clothes, pick your barefoot way over the high, slippery rocks, hold your breath, choose your footing, and step into the waterfall. The hard water pelts your skull, bands in bits on your shoulders and arms. The strong water dashes down beside you and you feel it along your calves and thighs rising roughly back up, up to the roiling surface, full of bubbles that slide up your skin or break on you at full speed. Can you break there? Here where the force is greatest and only the strength of your neck holds the river out of your face? Yes, you can breathe even here. You could learn to live like this. And you can, if you concentrate, even look out at the peaceful far bank where maples grow straight and their leaves lean down. For a joke you try to raise your arms. What a racket in your ears, what a scattershot pummeling!"