In the cities and towns, the people complain when the sky turns grey and the heavens open. But out in the bush, the bugs and birds, the plants and the fungus – they all breathe a sigh of relief. But you know who else’s stress is abated? That’s right: the waterfall.
We think of eighty-year-old elephants as being long-lived, and we’re impressed by two century old tortoises. Then there are trees which live for thousands of years. There’s a pine in America with over five thousand rings in its trunk, and there’s a Yew in Scotland with about the same.
Well, the waterfall has been around much longer. It’s been around since up was up, and down was down. It may not have washed over the same rocks, or through the same gullies – and it may not have always been flowing – but the waterfall is always there, watching and waiting for the invigoration of the clouds.
One day, men come along and put up a concrete wall. It’s called a dam because the waterfall says “damn! Another obstacle” The waterfall then spends the next hundred years grinding away at the man-made obstacle. It’s nothing though. The fall has been there for a million years already. What’s another century?
A lost teenager wanders near the riverbank. His parents think he’s at a friend’s. His friends think he’s at home. He thinks he’s a short walk out of town, but he’s been walking the wrong way. He’s in trouble and he doesn’t know it. A flash flood has invigorated the waterfall.
The fall has known a million faces in its million years. Birds, possums, wombats and people. The face of this teenager looks familiar. The water, urged by an invisible force, whips up and collects the clumsy teen. Yes, the waterfall knows this child. Its waters lick the shore near the teenager’s home. The water has all the ingredients to destroy mountains, but also to nourish and restore. There is enough driftwood and matted weed to scoop up the boy’s limp body, and there’s enough energy to deliver him home.
With a surge, the waterfall pushes the boy and his natural raft up onto the shore and its waters immediately recede. It’s only a matter of time until help arrives to take the boy the final few metres into the warmth of his home.
Remember to respect the water, because when you need its help it will decide whether to help you, or to hinder you.