i dive into the lake. a snow-capped mount hood stands majestically, she doesn’t even notice me here. underwater now, i’m taken by surprise as i open my mouth and taste clean, bland, fresh water. you’re not by the ocean anymore! it shouts all over my tastebuds. it’s cold and goosebumps send chills through my blood, beating warm just minutes before.
this doesn’t look real, i tell her later, it’s as if i’m dead and dreaming. it’s as if this all rose up from my imagination, creating a scene from scenes unseen and seen before. but, really, it’s incredible.
i’ve never known anything like it. and everyday challenges that, and everyday i say the same. everyday i feel the difference. i wonder if that would ever end.
we leave and take the old, snaking road back to the valley. i sit in the doorframe of the car as it winds through tall trees, so dense, that smell like the earth, open air and christmas. the wind hits me hard in my smiling face and dries my gums. i laugh and breathe so deeply. oh, this is living. yep, this is living well.
i left carly and sun river with a pinch of sadness, a little reluctance, sure, but i knew it was the right time to move. i thumbed it and road tripped with logan. the boy with the guitar. he’s all pisces, through and through. like me. he made the ride a joy – jiving and joking, bouncing and buzzing off a way-too-big caramel macchiato. he reminded me of three people at once – but for the life of me i couldn’t tell you who.
i met morgan, here, in hood river, like it was no big deal. like we weren’t reuniting completely out of context. in her hometown. in a place where she keeps all her memories and stories, through forests, in waterfalls along ridge lines, through orchards and wineries.
today we hiked to tamanawas falls. i was [illogically] scared of bears. mountain lions. wolves. i was walking while adrenaline was pumping, hard through my veins, all the way to the end. to the waterfall, which fell wide and slim. cold water. a glacier runoff. don’t drink it. she laughed.
we scrambled across a rock face, loose and sturdy – who knew which was which – and found ourselves behind the falls. behind! do you believe it?! it was like magic. the water streaming down in front of us – looking back into the valley. into! do you believe it?! it was like magic. between the excitement and the adrenaline, i couldn’t think straight. we sat, for a minute. took photos. stared in relative silence [the sound of the falls overtaking all others] and marvelled. oh well done mother nature. well done. you served us well today. well done.
we climbed down moss rocks and mud to the base of the falls. to where the spray saturated us. to where we looked up and whirled with vertigo. [to where the water looked like it could brutalise, bury and rescue you, all at the same time.] i lost my feet and slipped, on my bum, down gravel rocks and wet. adrenaline now doing nothing more than making me yelp and warn morgan, below me, of our possible demise into the base of the waterfall.
alas! death did not come. not by falls, not by bear, not by sliding into a ravine [perhaps a place we shouldn’t have been.]
but thank you mother nature, for your kindness in keeping us safe. for your provision of a waterfall so goddamn, unimaginably, breathtakingly beautiful. for the hundreds or thousands of who-knows-what-happened years that formed this place in the very first place. oh man, this world. this land. this life. oh me oh my, this land this life.