We recently visited a waterfall in Tallulah Gorge, where we climbed down literally hundreds of steps to get to the bottom of the tumbling torrents. The stairs were even numbered so we’d know how many little planks of torture there were left for us to endure. After descending to the foot of the falls, we huffed and puffed and popped Smarties to fuel our weary selves all the way back up to the top of the gorge again so we could hike around and view the falls from every angle up above. The scenery was spectacularly breathtaking from the myriad lookout stations that had been strategically placed and beautifully built to give you the best views of the roaring waters.
Toward the end of the trail, everyone else in our troupe had gotten way ahead leaving tiny-legs Taye and I behind. I could tell he was running out of steam, so instead of pushing him on I paused at the last lookout before the end of the hike, got down on one knee and called him over to peek with me through the lookout fence for one last glance at the waterfall. I hugged his little middle and told him I was so glad he was here and got to see this with me, then I told him the last time I remember seeing a waterfall was in Ethiopia.
During our week of “getting to know Ethiopia” and soaking up as much of the culture as we could before meeting our son, we were taken to a waterfall that we were told was very important. Stymied about what could be so impressive about a dinky, dirty little stream, we had awkwardly and dutifully taken pictures, oohed and aahed until we had pleased our guides enough for them to let us get back in the rickety van and bump along the road to the next significant sight. The waterfall was small and completely muddy brown. It was kind of gross and underwhelming to us, but to them it was a beautiful sight. Because of their severe drought, this waterfall was about 1/10 of what it used to be. The Ethiopians were thrilled that there had recently been a rain to get it hydrated and get that water “falling” again. Seeing this waterfall wasn’t worth hundreds of birr to me then ($5-10 US dollars), but it is priceless to me now as I realize how important this sight was for me to see.
As I knelt next to my tuckered out Taye at Tallulah Falls, taking in the beauty of the powerful, crystal clear, full of water, resounding waterfall, I had to fight back my emotions as I thought back to the dry, crackled land where Taye came from, the reason he had to leave, and how blessed he is now to live in a land that has more than plenty. How blessed we are to hike rubber-mulched paths, climb neatly-numbered stairs and peek through artistically crafted viewing stations at the beauty of our abundantly blessed land for a mere $5 parking fee.