Perhaps I'm a bit of a
one-trick-pony, but the movement of water keeps fascinating me. I'm consoled by
the words of Yul Brynner when asked if he wasn't bored doing the same King
and I play after 20 years. Face alive, thumb and forefinger almost
touching, he said, "I'm this close to getting it right." I feel like that with
With Minnesota giving me lots to
work with, I found the trails giving me plenty of time to ask myself what drove
me to keep pushing this particular specialty. I'm generally not a persistent
person, often losing interest in a project once I know how to solve its thorny
problem and aggravating folks counting on me to button up.
One frightening possibility is that
I've discovered modern art, that senseless mix of colors and shapes without
rhyme nor reason, and lamentably found some corner of it to please me.
Something moves me when the color changes as water flows over rocks,
particularly if the water has tannin in it. I find myself staring at a section
of swirling water, oblivious to the rocks, or waterfall, or even the mountain
around it. By itself, that moving swirl is sending a message right past my eyes
to a mysterious sense that chooses to reveal only the pleasure it produces and
not the understanding it conceals.
No worries though that I'll be
joining the chimps splashing paint on canvas to adorn Central Park's
penthouses. My pictures will remain visions of the world we live in.
There is that other possibility,
that persistence is an unending peeling back of layers, as with the proverbial
onion. Probing deeper and deeper into waterfalls may be my escape into
meditation, a crutch to limp into places available only to those who can remove
the world's distractions. Repetition calms the mind with a familiar rhythm, a
world where we know our way well enough to focus on the details that unsure
No worries that I'll come out of
the closet with my mushrooms and bong pipes to enhance the experience. I'm too
much of a cheapskate for that.
So, what is the real reason to keep
on keeping on, to keep turning our hamster wheel around and around? My answer
is this; if the wheel is taking you somewhere, hang on for the ride. If every
rotation looks the same, as with the ubiquitous 9-5 boring job, go find another
Key is to assess your hamster wheel
by yourself. Everyone has an opinion about where you should persist. Yul
Brynner found his without listening to the peanut gallery, as did Michelangelo,
taking years to paint the Sistine Chapel while the dukes of here and there were
waiting impatiently to get their mugs done.
How to know when you've found the
right object of your persistence? You won't. It will find you. At the end of so
many trails, I round a bend listening to the growing thunder, or delicate
splashing, and a waterfall reaches out to me, almost to ask, "Where you
By way of introductions, I prowl
about breathing in its mist and listening for a faint heartbeat, each so
different from the one before. An hour may go by before we cement our
relationship with a photograph. And when I finally take my leave, it isn't to
mark the waterfall checkbox as to go eagerly to visit the next of these
creatures of wonder.
If this turns me into "The
Waterfall Guy", well that's easier to remember than my last