The Waterfall Project

Southford Falls

The idea to write about these adventures was probably rolling around in my head when I first mentioned the idea of hiking waterfall trails to S earlier this spring. However, writing about our adventures in this space didn’t occur to me until last week, after we picked up his first set of photographs from the camera shop down the street.

S and I are on a mission to find and hike as many waterfall trails as we can this summer. He is nine. Nine, I am learning, is magical. Last weekend we talked about books for an hour while he got ready for bed. He tells us jokes that are for-real funny. He has grown wonderfully independent. And yet, he still grabs my hand instinctively when we cross the street, and he still looks to me when he needs reassurance or a hug. He also still thinks I’m cool. I want to hold on to nine for as long as I can.

I will have to backtrack my posts, because we’ve done two hikes already. The first one was at a park near where I grew up, a place I’ve hiked countless times and is filled with memories. M had taken the day off, so all three of us went, and the weather was incredible. Before we left we bought S one of those disposable film cameras. He took a whole roll of pictures and we dropped them off the next day. A week later we walked downtown and picked up the developed photos and took them with us to the café across the street so we could flip through them.

Twenty-five out of twenty-seven are blurry, most likely because he moved before the camera’s shutter was done closing its cheap, disposable eye. He was bummed- disheartened that his photos weren’t accurate representations of his memories, disappointed that his art didn’t align with his vision. We talked about ways he might hone his new craft, and we bought another camera so he can try again. I promised to find a photo album so he can catalog his photos and see how his skills improve.

Art. Nature. Motherhood.

I have decided to write about these trips so I can capture and consider all of the ways these three vital parts of my life intersect. I intend to write after each hike, so that perhaps my art can represent my vision.

I have decided to write about these trips in this space so that I will hold myself accountable for archiving our adventures, and so that S can have a written record of this summer, too.

And I have realized that by writing about these trips, I have found the way for me to hold on to nine for as long as I can.

“Let a body finally venture out of its shelter, expose itself in meaning beneath a veil of words. WORD FLESH. From one to the other, eternally, fragmented visions, metaphors of the invisible.” Julia Kristeva  

4 thoughts on “The Waterfall Project

  1. Laughing..out loud to myself…nearly late needing to run out the door…and tears too. So much. So much. I will respond more later but had to say just this so you know I’m out here listening and so filled with joy having read this.

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  2. What a lovely summer plan! Is Kaaterskill Falls on your list? I hiked that one a couple of times as an art student when we were studying the Hudson River School painters. Such a beautiful spot. And a hidden waterfall in a tiny village in the Berkshires, where you can walk up the waterfall itself and sit in little pools–perfect for a hot summer day. I have to think of the name of the village… Now I want to go hiking!

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  3. Amie, I can’t tell you how thrilled and fulfilled I am by you setting out on these journeys-the ones in “real” life and the ones on the page. I love the description of 9. Jokes that are for real funny. I too have noticed in the past several months how W had really become such a fun companion. Something dramatically changed. Yes, he’ll obviously still beg for ice cream right before dinner and get soaked in a sprinkler when we still have a long walk home—in other words, still very much a kid—but something qualitatively different in terms of his own confidence, independence, contribution to conversations. Oh how I love this piece and this adventure you’re beginning.

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    1. Yes! There has been a qualitative shift. Very much a kid, with whispers of grown-up-ness. I love it.
      Thanks for being here at the start of this adventure! I hope I stick with it. (The writing. I’m pretty sure S will hold me to the hikes.) xo

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