Precipices play an important role in my life. They make me stop and think.
Waterfalls have the additional illusive trigger of static motion. It reminds me of being in the presence of a caged wild animal. The raw power it can unleash sends shivers down my spine even if all she ends up doing is flirtatiously spray cool pin pricks of moisture onto my face. It is a deliciously divine spot to indulge your senses. And when your senses are so utterly stimulated the mind wanders.
Sadly I realized all this only last year when I was perilously close to a cataract of Holmesian proportions. Reichenbach.
“It is indeed, a fearful place. The torrent, swollen by the melting snow, plunges into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolls up like the smoke from a burning house. The shaft into which the river hurls itself is a immense chasm, lined by glistening coal-black rock, and narrowing into a creaming, boiling pit of incalculable depth, which brims over and shoots the stream onward over its jagged lip. The long sweep of green water roaring forever down, and the thick flickering curtain of spray hissing forever upward, turn a man giddy with their constant whirl and clamor.” – The Final Problem, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
After an hour of tiring walk from Meringen I was finally standing at the exact spot where Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty had their final tangle. Even without that added significance my trek had paid off.
I felt like a disillusioned money lender or an overthrown prince making their way to meet the hermit at the top of the mountains. I plucked at flowers, I kicked pebbles. I stood askance looking at the sky halfway through wiping the new found sensation of sweat on my face before I finally reached the precipice. On those slopes I had learnt that I felt heavy when with people. I relearnt the music of the earth. I realized the joy of meeting souls wandering among trees and the ritual of acknowledgement.
I realized how far I had strayed away from simple happiness in pursuit of complex gratification.
Any man who walks alone up a mountain and does not come back contemplative is no man. During that short time when he is tripping down he is forced to re acquaint himself with the world. Sometime those fleeting moments perfuse your psyche so completely that you see life in all her unadorned beauty.
Very soon though we dress her up again. We reshape her hair, squeeze her into garish corsets and parade her as our harlot. Till we find ourselves walking down a mountain alone. One day there will no more be an uninhabited mountain slope to walk down. One day we will be stranded at the top.