The freshest of air, thin in the clean still morning, breathed in and out like an oxygen mask heaven sent. Away, far in the distance, the Sierra, the pinks and yellows, the browns and blacks. Forests as far as the eye can see.
A turquoise, yellow, blue and green lake, the colours of happiness, shines through the tall reeds, pond skaters and dragn flies dressed for pantomime in iridescent bright red, green and blue. Tall spindly remnants of forest, burnt to a cinder, giving life to the new growth below.
A deep gully, a dry river bed with only ankle deep pools left between the rocks. Boulders tumbled, stacked high over each other, in some kind of natural order, smoothed by water and glacial action, all stacked t get in the way of the water. Huge trunks, jagged and smoothed lie across the gully, blockin branches and trunks, twisted and foreed in their way. Where is the water? What massive plug-hole swirl made this devastation, like the aftermath of Gurnica in a ? painting?
Thoughts turn back to the scoured waterfall path on the rock face, the flow here in the winter must be immense. A walk back u to the road speaks the truth, ‘Yosemite Falls River’ speakls the sign. This dry river bed, with its mangled masses of dry wood and sand, feeds the most powerful waterfall of them all. Yosemite Falls.
Standing deep on the river bed, the feeling of fear and awe is all encompassing. Imagination runs riot, ears, sure they can hear the rumble of gushing water, turn to the real sounds of birds and the bees. The idea of being here, just like when the tide goes out on a surf beach, understanding what it might feel like to be deep underwater, a branch tossed like a matchstick down, down, down. Imagine the adventure, through gully and valley, over stone and boulder, down under in the bubbly depths, spiking upwards for oxygen, to be sunk without trace in the next rush. Sweeping past lichen covered rocks with specks of gold, past wooded valleys, rushing along in the ferocious current, bobbing up and down like a cork on the sea. Imagine the ultimate drop, the slowing up when reaching the calm befre the storm, the slow waters of the headwaters of the waterfall. A final gasp, an oxygen fix, a sense of quickening pace, an sense of abandonment, like there is no control, no going back, just destiny. The fal fal falling over the edge, like a bird in flight, soaring down among the bubbles and air pockets, the debris and gold, the silver and rainbow, the soft water, airborne.
The fall, time suspended, graceful and final. The splash, pounding at the bottom, the oxygen pipe gets thinner, smaller, tighter, deep deep down in the dark dark green water, where swirling and spiralling in a vortex. With the flow at its slowest, the passage is hard, but the light of day is beyond. A hundred feet on and there is peace. A floating magical peace. Looking up, the cascade continues, relentless and powerful, a million gallons a second or more.
Back at the top, the rounded pebbles ground to sand make a place for the chipmunks to play and feed. Each one, with cheeks stuffed with seed from the cones, leap form rock t rock, from bush to branch, with one purpose in mind, to store food for the forthcoming winter. Which, just like the floodwaters, wil surely come.
Wind catches the trees, a rustling sound, a birch tree with silvery skin and fluttering leaves. A crested bird with indigo blue sheen, a blue jay, hovers expectantly waiting for the picnic crumbs, sits in the pines. Calling his mate to join him. Hop skip and there he is feasting on sandwich crumbs.
He sees it all, the Blue Jay, the river in flood, the chipmunks playing, the people picnicking. The waterfall, which is, and isn’t, breathes a powerful life into the dead river bed, creating the most enchanting spectacle of all, Yosemite Falls.