A mile or so from our driveway is the trailhead for Upper Maxwell Falls trail. I went once in the winter and didn’t take my yak-traks with me. It was too icy to navigate the altitude gain.
Today, as the gloom began to settle in late afternoon, and as my own mood began to mimic the gray overhead, I set out for Maxwell Falls.
The trail is not long, about a mile and a third round trip, but it does climb, then decline through ponderosa forest. Piles of large boulders, weathered and jumbled together, cling to the side of Shadow Mountain above and the trail, while Maxwell Creek flows with equal parts power and grace, going white over rocks in its way, curling around them, too, in gentle embrace.
The falls themselves are modest in height, but there are several, one after another, giving more speed to the already rapid water. This is the way it’s been here for millions of years after the snow melt and when rains come. The water starts up high and finds these channels that allow it to collect and be the chisel. Later, it will grow calm after having taken a fast ride, perhaps pooling behind a beaver dam or a spillway or flowing into a lake or pond.
It is a privilege to live so close to this magic. It dispelled the gathering gloom in my Self, allowed me entrance to the Otherworld, the place where humans are still one among many and not more important than any other.