The other day I saw a hummingbird drink from a waterfall that dried up thousands of years ago. This tiny creature, glittering in the sunlight, lapped up a trickle of moisture that found its way to this remnant of before, situated high above a roadway and made into a spectacle for hikers to view from a platform.
I could imagine what the cliff used to look like, cascading water falling into a crystal clear pool at the base, flowing down into the great river deep in the valley. Water plants of all kinds probably covered the ground around the pool, and moss the hue of emeralds perhaps lined the cool back wall of the cliff, hidden by the falls. It was a pocket of myth and moisture – a sanctuary for all creatures who need those things. The roadway site was likely just a swath of trees and more sandstone, maybe a route for elk or black bears on their way to drink from the river. Maybe there were people who walked there. Maybe they walked somewhere else. They walked more lightly than people do now, wherever their paths were. I could see them, too. They are us – our memories and our dreams.
All those years ago, when our memories were now and the forest was all there is, the waterfall was still a spectacle, but of a different kind. It wasn’t something to hike to on a day off, a photo opportunity, or an excuse to stop to rest and check for cell service. Rather, it was an intricate part of the organic, living landscape. Not a separate point of interest, just an oasis amidst even more abundance, another piece of the paradise that lives again when we listen for it and help it to grow and harmonize with our own energy.
When hummingbirds drink from extinct waterfalls, memories bubble to the surface and transcend how we view time – despite the roadways and platforms.
We remember we are part of the ancient and still find our home in the present.