About an hour north of my college town was the tallest waterfall in Oklahoma. I don’t know what it is about waterfalls that are so appealing but going to visit one and swim underneath it always sounded magical to me.
The first time I visited I was still a baby in college and it was one of my first trips venturing out of my college town. I was still hanging out with people I knew from high school, not yet breaking out to find my own friend group, and I was bouncing with excitement. We had just arrived when I got the call. Looking back, it’s strange that I even answered the phone. But I did. It was bad news, that maybe I’ll get into another day but not…not right now. The phone call left me shaken and my friends were around me wondering what was going on. I told them what had happened and after the usual words of condolences we ventured onward.
We were supposed to hike up the top of the waterfall together but I needed space. My emotions started to feel too big for my chest. Without a word I pushed myself forward, leaving everyone behind to reach the top first. After a couple minutes avoiding branches and stepping over rocks I made it. I walked to the edge and looked around me. There was nothing but the waterfall, trees and sky. It was beautiful. The world was beautiful and my heart was hurting.
I only let myself have a minute to really let my emotions wash over me. I knew my friends weren’t far behind and I didn’t want this to be the focus for the rest of the day. I just needed the minute alone on top of the waterfall to remember, to grieve and to appreciate the fact that I was alive.
day five – return to nature