She has a beginning and an end yet is ever changing. She is enclosed on all sides, yet has no borders. She is normally placid, and yet, at other times thunderous and precarious.
Only a few can allude to her entirety even though it is easy to define her limits; a vertical two-hundred-forty-foot drop within half a mile. I have been lucky enough to experience her beginning and end, her nebulous sides, her beauty and her danger; however, I remain ignorant of her totality.
I first discovered her in the late seventies. I say discovered her, even though others had discovered her long before me, because when you see something as beautiful as her it is a personal discovery. Back then she looked like this.
She was populated – – here and there – – with boulders, rocks, megalithic wonders and a few tree trunks. There were small pockets of water and large pools; both populated with trout of various types. At other times there were no pockets or pools after four days of rain. That was when she could become angry.
I made excuses to see her every year, mostly in early June after the snow melt had cleared winter’s debris. At that time she had been entertaining the trout in her eddies and pools. She had that untouched look about her.
My sons and I visited her almost every year. We found a cliff that was – – immediately after the glaciers had given her birth – – one of her sides. The cliff was within a stones throw from were she now works her magic. My sons and I ate our beans, sardines and rye bread after a hard day of fishing in her pools. From this vantage we could enjoy seeing most of her. The location was a bluff between the cliff and a few hemlocks. This was a visual treat – – for we could only see a bit upstream and downstream when fishing.
My last time visiting her she was out of sorts. More than angry; she appeared almost vicious.
However, I knew she would calm down if we left her to herself for a year or so.
She has a little sister who is angry most of the time.
And yet I know we will hope to meet up with both of them next spring.