Spring’s icy face scintillates on the frozen waterfall. Last winter had hit suddenly. Overnight the cold snapped. The flow and the crash and the wild dancing of the waterfall stopped, as if by decree. The water became trapped in icicles of patterned chaos. Nature is the greatest artist and here her rhythmic wildness and tearing chaos stretched across the river rocks of the waterfall, as if madness had taken over.
The nymphs and sprites, goblins and elves and all such manner of autumn mayhem had found themselves trapped with her. It’s always her intention for this to happen. Each year Sprite calls everyone to her waterfall for the end of autumn ‘Flow Party’. And they all come. It’s the last event before hibernation and it’s always a total rave, each creature pushing themselves beyond beyond. Last year though her guile had succeeded. For once she would have company through the long winter’s night. The suddenness of the snap had frozen bodies into the icy waterfall like threads and reeds, grasses, currents and opaque crystals trapped in their moment and blended blue by the cold, as if by intentional camouflage.
the ice cries as it questions the hint of Spring.
But today there are no questions, only anticipation. And the sparkle in the eyes of the revellers enhances the diamond light of even Spring’s best offerings. One cannot tell the difference between the streaks and patterns of water captured into solid curves and explosions of chaotic turbulence as if in an instant. Only the creatures of the dreaming know where they end and the icicles begin.
Perchance a weary traveller, dazed by the power of winter and relieved by the presence of spring finds himself on the banks of the waterfall and decides to pitch tent. He is amazed by the intricacies of the frozen waterfall and finds himself examining every crevice and twirl, every outcrop and curl, the dash and the knob, the flash and the fragments. Something of the familiar draws him back and back. His intuition won’t let him go.
After awhile he becomes aware of his eye. A spot on the waterfall where the water had been flowing over a peculiar rock fascinates him. Its look, rounded and full, whole and flow, curved, twirled, ordered and free. “In summer it must have caressed beautifully over that rock”. The traveller decides to stay awhile. He decides to follow his intrigue. So he takes out his paints and his brush and in his gloved hands, between the puffs of condensed breath, he paints the scene, over and over and over as it melts into longer and ever warmer days.
Witnessing the empty spaces of silence between the creaks and the squeaks, the cracks and the eeks, the journeyman notices the return of birds. Busy chirp, flap, flip courting dance delights. He’s absorbed, then forces himself back to the waterfall, which slowly, and ever so gently, releases its cargo into trickles, and then streamlets and then wisp, a puff and a gush, a pocket of air releases. The streamlets transform into streams. The rock becomes clearer. His wonder draws him deep into its mystery. The water falling over the rock has symmetry as if a head is lying back and facing up to the crest of the waterfall. Over the rock the ice curves flow and turn, in front of his very eyes, into a smooth reflection, a full lip of water which begins to pour a sound of pure resonance into his eyes. The silken curve of water flow is full now. Spring reflects its light, calling him to touch the delicate surface with his soft palm. But he is on the bank and is wary of the dangerous and slippery rocks. He imagines gently penetrating through the transparent curve of water and watching as the flow changes around his open hand. He can hear its caressing melody. He sees himself slowly scooping the flow into his mouth, fresh, pure, alive in his body. And then, with a burst of emotion, his whole head immerses into the icy cold. A spell is cast. He’s transfixed into a timeless moment. He finds himself – he’s on the slippery rocks, beside the transparent pouring which bewitches every cell of his body. And when the rock rises and stretches into a water sprite of delicate beauty, he sees her long brown hair pouring and flowing over and down. He blinks. His drumming heart throbs in his throat and his body sings exhilaration, open, symmetrical. Then the water sprite, as if in a daydream, stands tall and stretches gracefully into the fresh bite of spring air, naked and exquisite. A breath. In déjà vu,she shakes her head and glances at the
waterfall, “who’s still here?” then, curling down, she leans into the rocky rapids and lets herself go to roll into the flow. In a moment she is gone, merged into pools of river rock and fresh nature. Into the nurture of the river she blends.
The journeyman is transported into dreamtime by the cascading and the now fully flowing waterfall. He is enraptured by the spring bite whose breath tingles every cell of his body. Stunned by the bud and the leaf, the otter and the beaver, the doe and her buck, all so delicate and sensitive and sensual. For days he remains, for the spell cast by nature’s power castes wonders.
He spends the first few days of spring immersing himself again and again in the pool, to drink all up and to be drunken up. And the goblins and elves, the fairies and nymphs and all the other creatures of the netherworld dance around his dreams as if not real, convincing him that it’s simply the wonder and mystery of nature that inspires his love of line and curve, colour and texture. They do their magic well, for to this day he believes his fascination for beauty and flow was induced by the reflection of melted spring water flowing over a rock, in resplendent majesty.
Yet, somewhere, deep in the recess of a memory, in an unthinkable moment he senses the Water Sprite of pure resonance, her dazzling freshness flowing over the rock on a curve of water with her full head of hair pouring down her back in perfect symmetry long and rich through all the streams of nature. In the moment of her rising, like a flash of lightning she had met his eye with a glance that etched his soul.
Ice photo, courtesy of friend.