Waterfall

torrent SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

The weather was perfect. The hike had been pleasant. They stopped for a picnic on the bank of the stream as it rushed toward the waterfall. The normally bubbling brook was swollen with recent rains. The white water speeding down the creek and tumbling over the edge was energizing. The sun felt delicious on their faces. The flowering fields were glorious in early spring.

Other families were enjoying the day, too. Most stayed above the waterfalls. Any intrepid hikers who navigated down the steep slope to view the falls from the bottom were met with signs that warned against entering the water. The rocky pool was filled with unseen boulders, not to mention freezing cold with winter flow and melt.

Suddenly, the calm at the top of the falls was interrupted by a cry. A child of about ten years slipped on the bank above the falls. The wet surface, still damp from earlier rains, allowed no traction, and the child slid into the water. The strong flow quickly grabbed hold of her and she was swept toward the 45-foot drop. The girl’s mother screamed. The father tried to grab hold of his daughter but ended up helplessly in the water, too. Another man attempted to help, only to himself be lassoed by the water. The child’s mother and siblings, the Good Samaritan’s wife, and the picnickers watched in helpless horror as all three were swept by the white water and tumbled over the edge, quite possibly to their deaths.

The eldest son of the picnicking family ran down the trail along with a few others, hoping to assist survivors (or at least retrieve bodies so they not be carried further downstream and through additional cataracts). Rescue services were called. People rushed to the head of the falls to try and look down, afraid of seeing the worst.

Miraculously, all three survived the fall. The father and daughter managed to swim to the edge of the pool. The man who’d tried to help had made it through, as well. Both men were wounded. One with a broken nose. The other with an injured hand and lungs. The little girl was shaken, shaking, and freezing, but otherwise unharmed. With the help of others, all three were able to get up the trail back to the top of the falls, where they were reunited with their terrified families.

While recuse was coordinated, the girls of the picnicking family took off their sweaters, jackets, and socks and bundled the freezing little girl, who was drenched to the bone and had lost her shoes in the water, into layers of dry clothing.

It became evident that rescue personnel would need to hike the two miles in, so it was decided to try to walk out toward the paramedics. Slowly, with people assisting the wounded and carrying everyone’s belongings, the convoy of children and adults trudged along the trail, all stunned by what they had just experienced and/or witnessed. When help arrived, the child’s father was carried by stretcher the rest of the way and then all three evacuated in a waiting ambulance.

“I’m still processing this,” a witness shared later that day. “These moments while they were being carried toward and then fell over the waterfall … a mere few yards to our left … and us seeing it all happen … This could have been such a tragedy for the families and an awful trauma for all of us … It is amazing that this is how it ended.”

“How to process what I saw?” another witness wrote. “I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind, that the picture I’d taken of the happy family twenty minutes before all this occurred, could have been the last photo of their complete family … I saw near-death, fear, terror, anguish, redemption, joy, awe, and lots and lots of love. I saw people who came together, oblivious of background, because we are all part of the human race and we all value life and our families … and at the end of the day want to live together in peace and harmony and make this world a better place for our children. I saw people reach out and help one another, and think only of the other, not themselves.”

 

§§§§

 

Note: When I saw Sue’s photo prompt, I knew that this one was not going to be fiction. Not when the photo she chose is so uncannily reminding of the very waterfall where the child had slipped earlier this week. Yes, the story above is true. My sister’s family was the “picnicking family” mentioned above, my nephew had ran down the trail to help, my sister and nieces had helped dry and bundle the child in their clothes. In the photo below, you can see the falls. They’d been picnicking mere steps from where the people in the photo are standing. How all three survived not just the dangerous tumble, but the sharp rocks at the bottom of the falls is still a marvel. Whew. Here’s to humanity first. To teaching children how to swim. And to miracles.

Waterfall A Levenberg

Waterfall A.L.

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo Challenge

 

 

And The Mist Rose

Misty PhilipCoons

Photo: Philip Coons

 

And the mist rose

From the falls

In morning light

And autumn glow,

Steaming like the

Cold air’s breath

Out of water’s

Yawning edge.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Mist

 

 

Yellowed Gold

YellowLeaves NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Yellowed gold

Touching white

Lighting day

Glinting night.

Perfect fingers

Splayed bold

Last hurrah

Before cold.

 

 

 

For Sunday Stills: Yellow

For Dawn’s Festival of Leaves

 

Moody Monochrome

Central park monochrome NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Too soon the colors

Blazing on the trees

And paths

And drains

And roofs of cars

Would calm,

And ground

And street

And city parks

Will match the clouds in

Moody monochrome.

 

 

 

For the Lens-Artists challenge: Monochrome

 

 

 

Doomed

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“I will stand here, then slowly scoot in and get us tickets. No one will notice.”

“Are you kidding me?!” I tried to keep my voice low. Fortunately, it wasn’t difficult to do, muffled as it was already.

Doug shrugged, scattering orange and yellow.

It was a bad idea. This whole thing. I never should’ve let Doug talk me into it.

“It will be so much fun!” he’d said. And … anything did sound better than being cooped up in a hospital bed, my face swollen and bruised and covered with bandages after reconstructive surgery, while everyone else went partying.

Doug’s initial idea was to bandage the rest of me like a mummy, but I wasn’t going for it. I had enough of bandages. So Doug ‘borrowed’ his brother’s bike leathers and brought along some plastic ‘armor’, a roll of fake cobwebs, and a helmet that he somehow managed to fit over my post-surgically-wrapped visage. It was a bit too snug in places and as soon as he’d pulled it on I knew I’d regret it when we tried to remove the thing from my poor head. My noggin was five tons of throb.

We’d gotten through the nurse’s station undetected, and were now trying to crash the doctors’ party at the end of a hallway off the lobby. There seemed to be tickets involved. Or invitations. Or IDs of some sort. Now what?

Music crashed against my ears. I was tired. I wanted to be back in bed. I should have gone as a mummy. Preferably in a sarcophagus. At least then I could lie down. It wasn’t even three full days since my surgery. What was I thinking?… Clearly I was not.

“This is stupid!” I hissed.

“You’ll see,” Doug, undeterred, maneuvered his wrapped wheelchair into a corner, shedding more leaves, “People don’t notice trees.”

Oh, I could see already. And more than I wanted to.

“They would notice this one,” I grumbled.

Already Doug’s stick arms and bony torso showed. Someone should have hold him that being a potted tree in fall was doomed to leave him sitting in the nude.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge

 

Apple Picking

apple picking SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

He saw the gnarled trunk and the orbs

Round

And red

And green,

Undulating in the breeze that

Caressed his cheeks and flipped the end

Of his shirt up

Cool

On his tummy

When he ran.

He heard the crunch of grass-blades

Succulent

Under the smooth soles of

His shoes,

Each step sinking slightly into the

Soft

Saturated

Ground.

The thump of apple

Fallen

Filled his ears,

Alongside his own breath

Fast,

Excited

In his chest,

And the sound of his family

Drumming apples

Into their

Rustling plastic bags

And creaky wooden crates

And pinging metal pail.

He smelled the crushed grass,

The too-sweet scent of slightly

Rotting apples

On damp ground,

And a whiff of the caramel

That promised

One on a stick

For later on.

He stretched

To reach

Around the fruit,

The sky in his eyes and

The taste of last year’s

Treat

Faint and candied

On his

Tongue.

 

 

 

For the dVerse challenge: senses

 

Not Fall

No fall PhilipCoons

Photo: Philip Coons

 

Just you wait

And you’ll see

The real brave

I will be!

I will walk

With feet bare

From right here

To right there,

Without wobble

At all

I will cross

And not fall!

 

 

 

Note: It is WAY too early yet for me to do anything relating to the other meaning of the prompt word. So, nope … it was gonna be a “not” for me … 😉

 

For The Tuesday Photo Challenge: Fall

 

 

Fall Friends

Foliage 2018 8b NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Side by side

They keep near

In the wind

In the rain.

Limb to limb

They hold hands,

Close company

They maintain.

Friends in all

Friends in fall.

 

 

For The Sunday Trees Challenge