I recently found myself in Ana Ruby Falls in North Georgia near the Hellishly Kitsch town of Helen. I am a big fan of Kitsch, so I managed to enjoy myself. Walking around this park is a tourist must do, and I remembered seeing pictures of the Falls from my parents Mountain souvenirs they collected over the years. They visited the place on their honeymoon.
Since dad died, those memories are hard to revisit. Finding myself in north Georgia amongst even slightly familiar locales was like smelling a ghost. I felt his footsteps behind me and walked with somber steps up the paved hiking trail. Mom frequents the park and spends hours haunting the falls, listening to the whispering waters and mindless twittering of birds in the oak canopies.
The falls usually whisper, but today they raged with rare passion. A tropical storm had recently moved through, flooding the basin at the top of the mountain and dumping a torrent down the mountain side. Mom’s description of the falls were somewhat inaccurate. The wind twisting through the trees and the wet, cold mists wrapped around me. The smells of ozone and earth took me, lifted me to a place of long buried memory. I couldn’t shake the feeling I had been here before, though I was sure I never had.
The trees laid scattered like a child’s blocks, the earth had twisted and piled in odd clumps as small pools leaked from the now furious river on it’s mad dash down the mountain. What shocked me the most about this sight was not the white water rapids tearing through rocks, but rather the sheer height visible through the green leaves. The fall usually trickles down, and the split where two creeks merge to form the main stream almost always drips from the right while the one on the left flows gently.
Both torrents screamed with primal force. Above them, so far up as to dizzy my brain, was the main fall obscured through the forest canopy. I could not fathom the altitude, that the beauty and savagery of this place started from such a precipice. It made me feel small. I contemplated all the places in this world I could never reach. What remains inaccessible to me. There are mysteries left still. Our hubris can always be dulled with the sight nature’s cruelty and grace.
I have struggled to find words. I spend many hours pouring ink onto a page no reader will ever see. I lament my inability to write and fear my fountain has run dry. Could my brain simply empty? Could my words stifle and drip with impotent whispers? For now, I have hope that my words and my writing cycle with seasons, that now is a time of calm and whispering echoes. What storm must rage to set my river to madness again? For now I hope and wait…and prepare.