Waterfall Dad

On the trail again today. This time I decided to hike a waterfall, because two miles in waterfall miles is further than two miles in lake miles. At least it feels that way to my legs, and on such a gorgeous day, I was up for a challenge. I pulled in the parking lot, and my windows were down… classic rock playing, as always for me on a warm day in the mountains. I saw a dad and his three kids starting the hike. I watched as he was trying to handle a baby carrier with baby inside, on one arm while holding, what appeared to be a three year old’s hand in the other. The five year old was just ahead of him already running ahead. I laughed as I wondered how in the world I did it with four little ones, back in the day. I parked and did my before walk check list. Parking pass placed. Keys and phone in hand. Doors locked. Legs stretched. And a stop by the porta potty, just to be safe.
It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day. The water was flowing loudly because of last week’s rain. I love to walk along a river or stream, because the sound is so soothing. The only thing I love more than walking beside a river…is walking in one. I remember as girl, hair in a pony-tail, rolling up my blue jean legs to my knees and wading in. I can see in my mind’s eye, the fun of stepping from rock to rock while my toes turned into ice, and reaching in with my hands to turn rocks hunting for crawdads and salamanders. The memories bring me a smile. Maybe one hot day soon I will try my luck. But today I start the climb to the lower falls. The name is a misnomer. At Desoto, the lower fall trail is much steeper than the upper fall trail…just for your information.
I can hear the dad and his kids up ahead of me, and I am impressed that he would attempt such a climb with a baby carrier on his arm. I figure he must be from the city and has no idea what he has gotten himself into. By the time I reach the top, they are sitting on the platform resting and taking in the mist from the falls. As I approach, the baby, still in the carrier, starts to fuss. I notice the three year old is in flip flops and wonder how she ever made it up without losing one. He starts to adjust the baby and the son starts back down the mountain. The daughter jumps up and follows. Dad smiles and nods as he picks up the baby carrier. Off they go, back down, just minutes after the climb up.
I sit and take in the falls. After a few minutes of soaking in the day, I see the little girl coming back up the trail. The dad, baby still in the carrier on his arm, yells up to me that his daughter left her camera on the platform. I check all around and yell back to him that there is no camera. He tells her that she did not bring it and they turn around. She is dragging behind now. The son is just up ahead…but the distance is growing. I decide to head to the upper falls trail, so I am right behind them. Dad pulls off to the side when the little girl gets a rock in her flip flop. We chat as I pass about the adventure of taking kids hiking. I tell him I can relate and that at one time I had 4 kids under the age of 6. Moving down the trail I can see a flash of green little boy shirt ahead periodically. With dad behind me now he yells ahead to the boy. The boy, whether intentional or not I don’t know, keeps on going. The girl is tiring. The baby is fussing. The dad is starting to panic that the boy is now out of sight, and so he picks up his pace. I can hear his steps right behind me as his voice tries to remain calm to comfort the baby and the girl, while at the same time yelling at the boy who has disappeared. He calls the boy over and over. By the time we get to the bottom the boy has already crossed the bridge and is on the other side of the river. Dad finally gets his attention and screams, “Stop! Do not move from that spot!” The boy obeys that tone. The family is reunited as I continue on the trail. I cannot hear the exchange because the rushing river is too loud to make out the words. I think that is a good thing.
As I continue walking, I think about the dad calling the boy. How much like God is that? Calling to us, as we run away from him. He sees the dangers to which we are oblivious. We put distance between us, not really realizing it at the time. We only see adventure, not the loneliness that will come if we are completely separated from him. We see the fun, not the danger. We think we are fine on our own, just enjoying ourselves as we go on our way. God calls to us to wait for him. He wants us to be safe. He wants us to enjoy being with him as he shares the beauty of creation with us. The difference in the waterfall dad, and God is that God does not panic when we walk away from him. He is not fearful. He still calls to us, but he knows where we are headed. He knows exactly where we will end up before we turn our face back to find him. He knows just how many times he will call our name before we let his love fill our empty soul. He does not scream, he whispers…“Stop. Don’t move from that spot. I am coming for you. I am coming.”

One thought on “Waterfall Dad

  1. Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the
    glory of are their fathers.(Proverbs 17:6)

    Pretty much all the honest truthtelling there
    is in the world is done by children.(O.W. Holmes)

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