Spring, 1994

Table Rock, NC

Today is the first day of spring. Though I fettered away the better part of the afternoon, in what remains of toady’s daylight I have taken to the hills.

I’m perched on a rock beside Upper-Creek Trail. It’s strange to think that a short drive and hike can take me from roads, buildings, shops and other conveniences, right to the edge of a 50’ vertical drop with a roaring water fall and nary a sight of man’s mark upon the land.

The rhododendrons and pines along the banks are still green, and scattered about the distant mountainside are isolated hemlocks, but for the most part, the forest appears unaware that today holds any special significance.

Over the next month or so, the barren multitude of leafless branches shall shoot forth their buds for the next years growth, but today they are dormant. "March 20, 1994" — as if the forest were supposed to keep track of modern-man’s calendar.

The forest will wake from its winter slumber when it is ready, and not before. It will happen day by day, a little bit at a time. And then, on some warm afternoon a few weeks from now, I’ll remember to actually look, and it will seem as if the forest awoke overnight.

* * *

A waterfall is like a playground for a creek or river as it makes its continual journey from the mountains to the sea. Though water will forever move down-hill, a waterfall punctuates an otherwise uneventful passage with joy and excitement.

I need only sit at the base of a fall and look up to be overwhelmed by the amount of activity before me. From the top of the fall, the water almost knows a drop-off is coming, and begins to take a running start — it leaps out and away from the rock, forming brilliant cascades in the process. Gravity kicks in, and the water comes crashing down onto the rocks again, only to dance and laugh all the way down the jagged slope. All along the vertical drop are small pools here and there where the drops of water begin to gather. But more and more keep pouring in, and those that have been there the longest are forced to move on.

There is a gentle breeze here at the bottom. The air is cool and heavy with mist. As the sun has already set, the wind grows rapidly stronger and colder. And though I could easily sit on this rock for hours, visual details are fading one by one in the diminishing light. That’s OK… I’ll come back.

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman

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