Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

Block. Cascade. Cataract. Chute. Fan. Horsetail. Punchbowl.
These aren’t dance moves. They’re not plumbing apparatuses. They’re not hipster hair styles. They’re waterfalls.
Which western Oregon and western Washington have in spades.

Last week had a perfect, bluebird day. You get the feeling that days like are grounds for a public holiday in Portland in spring–like a fire drill. The siren sun goes off and and it is mad rush to get the hell out of whatever building you might be in, and find a big ol’ patch of warm and take off your wool socks for the first time in seasons, letting your poor, pasty white dogs blink their toes in the blinding light like little naked mole rats. The day was warm enough that after some reptilian reverie, the idea of a swim actually seemed not only possible, but preferable to any other activity.

Listen to the Ladies Come on and Let Me Spawn

An hour later: Flat rock, rushing Washougal River, Aegean blue, dippers doing their double dip, clouds building, sun shining, legs numb, seriously numb, cold water, mini-falls…and unknown fish. Jumping fish. Soaring fish. Gilled madmen. Crazy kamikaze missiles of scale and fin, flying through the air, hearts and minds and gonads afire with the need to spawn, hurtling themselves against the current, up the falls, into foamy oblivion. I’d never seen such a thing in person. It was like watching someone bang their head against a wall, kind of frustrating, and yet, you’re routing for them, because at one point, some sturdy-noggined bloke cracked plaster and not skull, and busted through that wall. And on the other side there was sex! Glorious sex! Likely immediately proceeded by death, but still! What a way to go. These fish… watching them fight gravity and water pressure and the lazy urge to just curl up with a good book in a nice calm eddy… amazing. I know it happens all the time. Its just fish being fish. Its just biology. But from my rock, it all seemed very Greek. All Eros and Pathos and Poetry.
They were like superheros, just going for it.

For Reals

I love the power of water.

You can feel it so clearly near waterfalls. Last week I checked out Multnomah Falls along the Columbia. With an impressive 620 foot double-down, its the king of Oregon falls.

This one feels electric.

The mist just fans out, and swirls around, traveling up and down at the same time, baptizing its adoring congregations of the happiest moss you’ve ever seen.

Pure power.

Now I like to imagine what kind of super fish on what kind of steriods thinking about what kind of Helen of Troy would be foolhardy and big-hearted enough to tackle this bad boy. Do the Dance.

We salute you!

3 responses to “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *