The Waterfall

IMG_1157The first thing that drew me was the sound – light, happy sounds almost like gentle rain. We turned the corner and there it was, a beautiful ceiling to floor waterfall. I’m talking twenty foot or so. We sat and watched and read. We do a lot of reading while we wait between appointments at MD Anderson.

The seating was comfortable, but I couldn’t concentrate on my reading. I had come to a dull part of the story, or I was just distracted by a myriad of thoughts. I began to look closer at the waterfall. It was made of granite, huge sheets of rose colored granite. Three tiers were incorporated into the fall. The water poured over the first level from somewhere above the ceiling because the water was sheeting over a perfectly flat surface. Evidently a shallow pool caught the water and ushered it to the next fall. This one was longer and more complicated.

The smooth surface was broken by slabs of stone that were, as my wife would say, “sticky outy.” They projected from the surface a couple of inches causing the water to gurgle a bit as it had to jump over the projections before flowing down the face of these new surfaces. In addition, the creator of this fall added three blocks of rough faced stone, unpolished, rugged. The water could not flow easily down this new texture. Some of it could conform to the contours. Some of it leapt off the projections and free fell to the second small pond below.

The second pool directed the flow to the third and final tier of the fall. This level was even more complicated than the previous one. Not only did it have projections and rough cut sections, but it had depressed areas. Now the water had to flow over some areas only to back flush into a depressed area. Other places caused the water to leap as before off the rugged faces. Only one area in the center of the fall gave the water above an untroubled path to the waiting pool below. A section just to the right of the free flow area posed the most trouble for the water above. The projecting stone was grooved vertically creating channels forcing the cascading flow to twist and turn into the narrow slits before falling onto another highly textured uncut face before tumbling into the final pool.

I sat fascinated at the various obstacles placed before the descending waters. The display was not only an auditory delight, but a visual one as well. As often happens in my somewhat twisted mind, I began to look at the falls as life lessons.

The first tier could represent early childhood, those carefree days when most of us had few problems. Life was good, interrupted only by a few pleasantries. Nothing serious.

The second fall could represent young adulthood. A few of us survive untroubled. Some of us face simple obstacles easily overcome. Others face a harder time with rough patches that throw us off balance, out of kilter, and into turmoil. Most of us survive. A few leap into the unknown giving up on the journey.

The final fall represents adulthood. Again, a few of us just breeze through with few problems. Others face more complicated obstacles. Some of us are channeled into paths we do not want and endure obstacles we wish we could avoid. A few of us dive off into the unknown, giving up on the challenges. Most of us endure to the end – survivors.

Our stories become the legend that is us. Some of us become famous, and our stories are well known. Others are local heroes. How we handled the trials are known to a limited locale: our school, our church, our town, maybe even our state. Most of us will fall into the category of family legends. Only our children and grandchildren will know how we handled life, how we made our way through difficult times.

The point is this. We will all face challenges in this life. That is the spice of life. How we handle them is our legacy.

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