Seeing and hiking Multnomah Falls

jill at multnomah.jpgThe Columbia is more of a lake from here, flowing imperceptibly from one end of the earth to the other.  Sheets of rain have pulled their grays away.  Sun-golden touches brush the air-green buds, the pinks of cherry blossoms, whites of Bradford pears, and the deeper red hues of Japanese maples on both this and the far shore.  The iridescent green here in the grass and rhododendrons are weeks ahead of the rest of the world.

At the base of the falls, some things were as we would have thought.  We felt in our chests, the waters’ roar falling 612 feet.  The spray blasting out from the base of the falls, swept by at more than 30 miles an hour, dousing us in only a minute.  The spray blasted out hundreds of feet, and a huge flow of air followed the water down the falls and then had to find a place to blow.  It blew through us.

But the unexpected piece was elemental.  It shocked me.

Visually, I was overpowered.  That much water falling that far, just stunned me.  Vertigo whispered to my inner ear, that the entire earth seemed to be hurtling toward me from on high.  The roar decorated the surround rock in moss.  Lichen in differing colors made parts of the cliffs appear to be bathed in sunlight, when none appeared.

That was still not surprised me.  It was rocks rolling around.  The waterfall brought some rocks over the edge, slamming them into the base.  But way beyond that, a sound harked to massive tonnages of slate crashing on each other: the gods shooting marbles.  At the base of the water fall, the water was forcefully rolling rocks, moving rocks, flinging some rocks, and that sound, that sound reverberating through – me.  Whispered how forceful was the water shaping this cliff and pulverizing rock into sand.  How massive was the hand of water slapping rocks back and forth.

And how small I am, and how small was my grandfather when someone took his picture here more than seventy years ago.

Seeing him here reminds me that I am small.  And that I am closer to the mist blowing through than I am to the rock still on the cliff or being slapped around and pummeled that I am hearing.

Will the world be in a place where my grandchildren can come here, and snap the equivalent of a selfie with my Jill taken by my camera?

2 thoughts on “Seeing and hiking Multnomah Falls

  1. Tom, 20 some years ago a friend and I went swimming in the pool at the base of Multnomah Falls. It was an incredible experience. As I got out he decided to swim under the falls themselves. As he dove under I heard a rock dislodged from far above slam into the water. He came up safe and sound (well at least safe.) Glad you had a few days in my part of the world. Hope I can buy you dinner next time.

    • We were in and out. THIS was our escape. The rest of the time I was in conferences. Good stuff, but wall to wall morning ’till night. You will buy next time. I promise. This is just a guess. They didn’t INVITE you to swim there, did they?

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