Monday, June 15, 2009

The Devil's Throat: Humbled (Again) by Nature

As Nick & I stood atop Cerro Uriturco in Capilla del Monte, I thought (of course not for the first time) how man-made wonders seem always to pale in comparison to the wonders made by nature. Well, that thought was magnified tenfold as I stood last week in front of The Devil's Throat waterfall at Iguazu Falls. Never in my life had I seen something that took my breath away quite as sharply...It's one of those things that I even feel funny writing about because no words could aptly express the feeling. But on the flip-side, I feel funny not writing about it because I think it deserves praise. Oh, the plight, the constant catch-22 of an aspiring writer! Poor me. :-) Well I guess I will have to settle for doing my best to appropriately attribute the right words to something so beautiful...

As you know from my last post, on our first day in Missiones, Argentina, we took an ever-unforgettable voyage into Paraguay...And on the second day, we hit the waterfall park. Awaking bright and early, at 7 am we could see our breath, but we dressed in shorts, knowing the sun would come and we would break lots of sweat as we hiked the paths in-between the waterfalls. So we shivered our way on the bus to the Parque Nacional Iguazu, paid our fare to enter, and set about our explorations.

First came La Garganta del Diablo, or The Devil's Throat, a giant waterfall that you reach via catwalk over some twists and turns of the Rio Igaucu. You can hear The Devil's Throat long before you can see it, its roars reaching your ears when all seems just peaceful and shallow river water streaming underneath. But then the mist comes, arising from the crashing of the water, and enwrapping the whole area in a mysterioius foggy shield. And then you know your close.

But neither the noise nor the mist can prepare you for the actuality of The Devil's Throat. As you reach the look-out point and stare out over, you can't believe that something so foreful, something so powerful, is constantly in this beautiful motion, naturally. A perfect ecosystem of unbelievable power and beauty formed seemlessly. Nothing made by us humans could compare.

Just before The Devil's Throat, the water from the Rio Igaucu moves slowly and surely like a normal river, seemingly making its way to the river's basin. But then the earth drops down without warning, and the water drops with it, gathering momentum as it travels to the valley below. So much water pouring forth, gathering momentum together, until it becomes a collective fall of water joined together in freefall motion. The falling droplets become gathered clouds of froth, spraying mist in every direction, hitting the rocks below with crashing force and crashing noise. The rocks break their fall, calm them, and they continue their journey onto the basin, recovered and rejuvenated from their fall. And again and again it happens with constantly renewed droplets.

To watch this process is to be mesmerized. It was truly hypnotizing. I could have stood there on that old over-pass on that old catwalk, watching new water fall for hours upon hours (if only there weren't so many tourists, wanting my fought-for look-out spot!). I imagined everything--the explorer (Senor Nunez) that discovered these mighty falls (and how did he manage to not fall himself?!), the tourists that at times have taken too many risks and fallen themselves, the fish that must somehow survive such a fall, the lush earth around this fall that is green, green, green, constantly watered from the tons of mist spit forth from this devil's throat...What a wonder...

Eventually, the new tourists got their way, and I gave up my perch. Nick snapped photo after photo, trying to capture this all-too-brief moment in a small way forever. We took one more gawk, and moved on. Afterall, there were many more falls to see! Their story comes next...

The sky pours out biblical rain
Then days so still the beauty gives you pain
The heatwave kills the green and she remains unseen
But colors up my dream with all things blooming

~Indigo Girls~


Mama Africa said...

Gorgeous waterfalls! (And that girl standing in front of them isn't too bad, either.)

You're right-- nature and music are exasperating subjects for writers! But you're also right for writing anyway, no matter how strange or difficult it is...

Keep posting and showing off your photos!

Loooooove, Laura Epps

Agustín said...

Poor Niagara! it is said that exclaimed Eleanor Roosevelt when she visited the Iguazu falls.