Cascade

All the other people hiking that trail, so steep and the ice so treacherous, and they get to the end where the waterfall is and one of them will go and stand and wave and the other will snap a photo and they will turn around and leave. They’re all filing past doing that, snapping a photo of a person standing in front of the falls and leaving immediately and I’m thinking, don’t you even want to look at it, examine it, marvel at it and what it represents, the unfolding of time and the wearing down of rock and bone? You hiked all that way, braved death on slick ice and you’re just going to snap a photo of your girlfriend and leave? “There’s Kerrie by the falls — what? Oh, I dunno, some waterfall in Banff. We were skiing up there, it’s cool” and Kerrie’s frozen photo but a granule, a speck, ash and dust against the power of that creek and the millennia through which it has eroded that rock, but you don’t seem to care. Or can’t take the time to care, it’s just something to do, something to see, within the constraints of your mapped-out day. Click, snap, let’s go. Click, snap, let’s go. Click, snap — they all paraded by me and took their photos and turned and marched back to their cars and their tour buses and their lives and I sat caught, mesmerized, thoughts obliterated by a cascade of sound, the white noise of relentless time. And how could anyone see this and dismiss it with a waving snapshot? How could I turn away and discard its memory so quickly? How can you? I don’t understand and I have to remain for at least a little while, offer its patient and awe-inspiring efforts at least a tiny portion of my existence, a pinch of my time, a moment, frozen, eroded, cascading, flowing. A moment, stolen, savored — hell, I don’t really know what I’m looking for here, but these people, these snapshot-clicking waving people, it can’t be the same thing they’re looking for.

A black and white photograph of a cascade of water, a river, rapids, a waterfall


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