Breezes blow cool in the valley, raising the thick smell of life and decay to the highest ridge. It carries a slight mist from waterfalls below. It brings a sweet song of chickadee and the sharp warning of titmouse.
The ancient stream runs gently through cavernous rifts cut by the force of time, exposing limestone, laying bare the ancient, fossilized crustacean and sponge. Water washes the rough rock smooth, reducing boulders to stones to pebbles to sand.
Children romp, hike, and run. They splash through cold, crystal-clear water, crunch through dead, dry leaves, ascend moss-covered boulders as old as the earth itself.
They search, prod, and pick. Small hands gently cradle fragile golden leaves and weigh perfectly balanced skipping stones: One delicately pressed as a keepsake, the other launched across the water with enthusiasm and anticipation.
Whispered words are lost in the gurgling, churning water and quietly pass into time. Peels of laughter escape the confines of the valley and echo off towering canyon walls.
Shadows stretch long. The sun pushes westward, hidden by cloud and ridge top, bringing this perfect day to an end. With the cool evening air, a dense fog forms. Dewdrops gather on every fern and fungi, moss and lichen. The few remaining frogs climb to the water’s edge and chirp their approval of dusk and the birds become silent in the fading evening light.
Step quietly from the basin. Make no sound as you leave the gorge. Leave the wind and water to tell the ancient story, sung softly through the vale of mist and gray.