Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Falls Church

When we finally arrived at the woodland falls, somebody had parked a Toyota there, but they weren’t around. Here, I revealed the note to my companions, but they seemed perplexed as to its meaning. I stripped myself of the extra supplies and emptied all pockets before quietly sunning on a large flat rock. This enormous rock was next to the deepest water hole and it faced perfectly into the best afternoon sun. The rock is large enough to hold one of the families we saw earlier in the day. If I become more star-savvy, perhaps one night I will lug up some simple astronomical sextants and whatnot to measure our nighttime sky from this rock to determine if it orients toward celestial noon.

I located a few sticks to throw in the water for Lucas. From previous experience, I knew he would be careful, because whenever he draws near a dangerous looking area, like the current of the cascading falls; he approaches very tentatively, sometimes waiting for the stick to float upstream to come into easy grasp. After a while, he got used to the slippiness and saw that if he tiptoed across the moss carefully, it was probably safe to pull a thrown stick from any area of the falls where we played.

After splashing around downstream for a while, I finally submitted to the deep immersion. “Cold!” I cried aloud, while quickly bobbing back to the surface. Reflecting above the water, I wondered what the enduring waterfall here looks like in winter. I thought again about the note and remembered that Wildhorse is where; two decades ago, Marcus shot a Mountain Lion with small ears. They attributed the small ears to the coldness and the fact that the Mountain Lion wintered in an area where it sometimes reaches forty-below. The cutting frostbite, shortened the Cougar’s extremities at its ears, and shaved some length off its tail.

I baptized myself in the water two more times. The third time Lucas came over with a high look of concern to ensure I was okay. This reminded me of a time when Maddie-Lou did the same thing at these very falls and pawed at me while my head was underwater. It was a very sentimental moment for me again, as I had been talking about Maddie with Laura only days before at Shorty’s Diner, where a deep sadness came upon me as Laura spoke Maddie’s name aloud. Her words made me think about Maddie-Lou and Dartmoore and the wonderful lives they led.

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