I finish the last bite of my peanut butter and apple with chocolate chips burrito. My mouth wants another one to continue the happiness, but my stomach and the dashboard clock win out. I open the car door and inhale the crisp autumn air. The sound of rainfall fills my ears despite the clear morning sky.
My hike this morning takes me to a waterfall close to my heart. It is so lovely that I almost trip over my feet scrambling through the grass to reach it.
The short forest trail ends at a large boulder, and the falls beckon me around it. A quick detour to the left follows the mountain wall and onto a wooden staircase built for safe footing. Noting the algae-covered stones beneath I am thankful for the assist. Descending the final treads I enter a small clearing and regard the full extent of the falls.
Looking around to admire the surroundings, a cool mist envelops my face. A gracious welcome!
The charm of this place is the sensation of being in a private room with a tall waterfall. A high mountain wall forms one half of the enclosure, and a dense hardwood forest completes the opposite side.
I walk carefully around the outside of the pool, moving toward my favorite view. Cold, clear water laps at my shoes, reminding me of the frosty feet I would have if I lost my balance. I hold out my arms as I carefully tiptoe across the flattest stones that break the water’s surface.
Safely on the opposite bank I settle on a boulder to gaze upon Eastatoe Falls.
Bright white water contrasts beautifully against slate blue stone. Spilling over a vertical ledge, the river leaps three times to a pause at the midpoint of the wall. Mirroring its direction, the water cascades down a perfect flight of steps. Embellishing the scene is a brilliant green moss that textures every surrounding stone. The final touch is a sprinkled layer of fallen leaves, sparkling like confetti. Pure magic!
After exhausting every excuse I had to stay at the falls a bit longer, I reluctantly parted for the car. Opening the door I turn to the small house and catch a figure standing at the window. I smile and wave, grateful to the stranger who has let me park in her driveway, walk across her property and admire this natural masterpiece for two blissful hours.
I wonder if my happy smile and wave was the price she wanted to collect for her trouble.
Driving thoughtfully through the mountains, my mind turns to dozens of friends and acquaintances who share this noble trait. A taxi driver in St. Petersburg. A great group of friends in Helsinki. A soulmate in Denver. And most of all – my beautiful kids.
Please take a moment and think about those who have touched your life just for the pleasure of seeing you happy. Better yet – thank them! And if you want to really honor them, write their story in the comments!
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