I didn’t think it could be real – the concept of a journey. We all fantasized about that; about Odysseus and the lands he got to see. And even though he was separated from his love, I felt jealous of him because of his liberation. So go ahead Poseidon, take me out.
We set up basecamp at the falls. Our shirts stuck to our back like we were the first humans to feel heat. It would be a trek of firsts. The gorges in front of us radiated a teal blue I’ve never seen before and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves in the water. I know this is my perspective - my life, my personal attempts at finding something to justify all the shit in the world - but you’ll hear me saying “we” occasionally. We were temporarily on the same path, physically and mentally, and it made us feel human. It made us feel like we were surviving. Not defending but learning to live through social contact and treating nature as an equal. Not many people know how to do that.
We found a ledge on the top of the first waterfall that overlooked both the dive pools and the bare rock bustling with water. I pre-rolled a few joints for these serene moments so we were really feeling good. Eventually our trip would start and we would enter the ravine, surrender ourselves to biology, and lose our minds.
It’s difficult to present to you a perfect image of the beauty we saw those few hours – sometimes words feel awkward attempting to describe a view that catches breaths at sight. You’ll never have been me at that specific moment so it seems pointless to describe it to you. Nevertheless, the stream had the innate quality of miracles (in a purely existence-focused context) and harbored the necessary connections we must form with the plane our minds physically exist on so I guess it’s worth explaining to you.
We could’ve been travelers stopping through in the 19th century from the whisper of rumors a few towns over, we could’ve been following a path to a Mayan ruin, ready to talk to the gods, we could’ve been college students frustrated at time’s rigid structure and the way it prevents us from experiencing the emotions of every traveler ever to scale these waterfalls, condensed into a single frame and burst of time and life. I kind of hope they all would feel the way I did.
I felt a personal connection with all those travelers and the people yet to laugh like a child in this natural water park. I’d like to think everyone would feel as happy as me – so in a way when I say “we”, it also includes you.
The stream was isolated by two steep hills of dark rock, pushing the limits of the sky. There was only one road in front of us and we were coming up hard. The abundance of pine trees creates a forest green canopy above us, letting in only enough light where we actually appreciated and noticed it and that’s when we knew we were in the deep wilderness. We found beauty in every site we passed which made it difficult to move on through the ten waterfalls in less than two hours.
At the beginning of our journey we didn’t even know the phenomenon awaiting us. We were content at the bottom of the stream, not asking for any more, when the adventure presented itself to us. Who knew back then the trail continued on for miles, increasing in beauty at every literal bend to the point it almost seemed surreal. And while those waterfalls are all still pushing and manipulating water as if through some magical force, I like to think it only existed for that one day. Maybe I’m hoping it becomes a symbol for every miracle I see in life, for the selfless social contact that can bring us love at a base, simple, human level, for the idea of a heaven and it’s many waterfalls.
Was I overwhelmed by beauty to the point it struck a chord inside me that resonated with the idea of a higher power until we were both shaking so out of controllably in control? Or was it the neurotransmitters in my brain creating synaptic connections on this drug I’ve never seen before? I’d like to think both ideas could co-exist. I’d like to believe truths aren’t restricted to the manner they were gained or the outcomes they push towards.
It’s interesting the barriers we put up when we define worth by how many objects we have. When everyone releases his or her muscles to hold the overwhelmingly dense truth of simplicity we can work together. It’s survival not on an individual level but a species level and it all starts with how small we are. How small, short-lived, and improbable our existence is. From there we realize most things don’t really matter. Not to the point we should discard them for having no value but to let them exist as they are. This goes for rocks, people, bugs, and the minor inconveniences we face as a result of another person’s misdoing or moment of uncertainty.
We accepted this fairly early as we cut down anything that caused more deceit than bare truth. We tried to just go with the trip as we examined the lifestyle of fish brushing against our legs but some realizations required quiet reflection on a note pad – so we could enjoy these insights later. Our first entry was “time is a biological function of the expectancy of death.” The second entry consisted only of “underwater dinosaur land.”
Once we appreciate simplicity, it’s only a matter of finding others who share this knowledge. On intercepting another group of people, our defenses go up and we immediately assess their outlook on life. Just that would tell us everything about our possibility of co-existing together. If they too are looking for that natural balance of living and being alive, a commune is made without words or agreements.
Maybe it’s where I lack but my level of comfort had not yet expanded enough to include a dozen people. I could have done maybe six at the time but since that was not an option, us three original voyagers kept moving upstream, hoping to find the source of it all.
We had to turn back eventually but I knew deep down in my heart if we kept going we would never hit a road. We lost the initial awe from nature so the walk back down strengthened previous ideas we struggled with earlier.
It wasn’t about beauty anymore. I was so focused on trying to comprehend the meaning behind the beauty in random ion deposits in rocks; I didn’t know what to do when the rock broke in two. You had just finishing up sharing a revelation you had – they were often person when on our search to find our niche in the universe – and so I felt it necessary to share half the rock with you. I could’ve had two rocks to learn from, sure, but you had empty hands and I wanted you to know this individual wanted to form connections to his species. It’s so strange to realize there are other thinking things out there, isn’t it? Their minds think like us but deep down we know no one else can feel like us.
And while that may feel lonely, never being able to fully identify with another on a personal level (by definition), we can take that first step to identifying on a species level. On a level that says we’re all existing on top of this waterfall so we might as well exist together and with nature, which somehow shows more wisdom through longevity than we do. Maybe we could learn from it.
The rock that helped me find myself was much smaller in two, but it allowed me to share the emotion and get glimpses of how it feels to identify with someone on a personal level. To possibly witness first hand their defining qualities from which they’re unique without completely shattering any comfort we’ve found and have reinforced in the self. Without cracking the boundaries that keep us within ourselves and make us who we are. We still couldn’t look into each other’s eyes though.