The water rushed by the last rock at the cliff’s edge, flinging itself into the open air beyond, and then falling, falling, falling; and smashing onto the stone and water below.
It was no different than the water that had preceded it, and no different than the water that would follow, but the feeling right then… the feeling of exploding into a thousand drops, leaping free of the surface again to tumble into itself without the slightest bit of destruction, and then roil and bump against the rocks as it was carried downstream, looking back at the cataract where it had been moments ago. That feeling was the free-est in the whole world; even the birds did not have that freedom as they soared and dove in the air. They could not caress the moss-covered pebbles that lined the bottom of the river bed, nor could they sense the gentle, squeezing pressure from slipping between two boulders and then rebounding into the pools below. The water envied nothing.
The sun felt warm in contrast to the water’s cold nature, for it had traveled many miles from the streams which flowed from the high mountain lakes, and as gravity joined it as a playmate they had decided to make a race of it, seeing if one might escape the snowy slopes before the other. It was a silly thing, as the water felt that gravity was always one step ahead, coaxing and pulling; but the movement amongst the rocks and fresh air was a feeling astonishingly alive, nonetheless.
The water had no cares as it enjoyed the bouncing, spinning, sliding flow of its joyful ride out of the mountains and into the spreading sensations of its widening span. As it reached ever broader, the tingling tendrils of eddies as they sought the shade of a grassy overhang or wrapped around the snag of an old tree, or slowly sculpted the mud bank as it passed, would echo the ripples on the water’s surface, as the intense memories of the images from the mountains slowly drifted away.
The water started to lose what had become its delicate sense of memory, diluted and yet still connected, mystified by the duality, as the surety of its destiny flowed out to where it would join with the air and take the long journey back to those mountain peaks of its beginning.