To the north of Buenos Aires, an overnight bus ride away, Argentina meets Brazil. Or rather, waters divide land, marking separations which humankind is privileged to oblige on their maps of ink
Iguazu Falls; we follow the flow. At the precipice of earth and stone, poetry of water comes to life.
At home in Oregon, we live in a culture of water: Multnomah Falls, Punchbowl Falls, and the granddaddy circuit through Silver Creek Falls Sate Park. These are the iconic testaments to Pacific Northwest snow melt and rainfall.
Pioneers once navigated The Willamette River in patched-up covered wagons and mostly managed avoiding mishaps at the falls in Oregon City (did you know they’re second largest in the U.S.?). Planners today battle about the Columbia River Crossing and appropriate ways to span the wide flow that splits jobs and sales tax, workers and vehicles, Oregon and Washington.
Over the years, we’ve visited these waterways many times on our own and with visiting guests.
Nothing in Oregon could have prepared us for the experience of South America’s thundering falls. We’d compare them to Niagra, but we’ve never been (well, unless you count a TV visit to watch Jim and Pam get married).
This landmark (watermark?) is home to 150-275+/- waterfalls depending on the seasonal flow from the Iguazu River that runs an average of 1,750 cubic meters (462,301 gallons) per second.
The area, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts a rich biodiversity of plants and animals within its vast area of protected land and water, and thanks to parks on both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides, we spent two days visiting miles of trail snaking to, over, around, past, and through the white spray and arcing rainbows.
You might be wondering where the pictures are after all this talk?
Hold your horses!
Imagine the anticipation.
When we first arrived to the park on the Argentina side, we walked the paths, took a train through the jungle, then set out across boardwalks built above the deceptively calm river. The rising mist beyond the trees was the only hint at what was to come.
Ted ran ahead to the edge of the railing at the top of Devil’s Throat and then came back and stopped me. “Here, close your eyes,” he said, and then led me the last twenty steps.
I opened my eyes to majesty.
How great and mighty is the beauty of Creation. It stirs hearts to greater things.
Enjoy the following collection of photos from our two day visit to Iguazu Falls…
It’s amazing to think the falls used to be part of one family’s private estate. Can you imagine having this on the back forty?
Moving water has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river.
The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit.
-Saint Teresa of Avila
Emerald slopes became so tall they touched the clouds, and showers painted diamond waterfalls that sluiced down cliff sides.
Those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life.
-John Chapter Four verse Fourteen
Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water, rivers remembered and rivers imagined. Rivers course through my dreams, rivers cold and fast, rivers well-known and rivers nameless, rivers that seem like ribbons of blue water twisting through wide valleys, narrow rivers folded in layers of darkening shadows, rivers that have eroded down deep into a mountain’s belly, sculpted the land. Peeled back the planet’s history exposing the texture of time itself.
Water is sometimes sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen bringing hurt or pestilence, sometime health-giving, sometimes poisonous.
It suffers change into as many natures as are the different places through which it passes.
And as the mirror changes with the colour of its subject, so it alters with the nature of the place, becoming noisome, laxative, astringent, sulfurous, salty, incarnadined, mournful, raging, angry, red, yellow, green, black, blue, greasy, fat or slim.
Sometimes it starts a conflagration, sometimes it extinguishes one; is warm and is cold, carries away or sets down, hollows out or builds up, tears or establishes, fills or empties, raises itself or burrows down, speeds or is still; is the cause at times of life or death, or increase or privation, nourishes at times and at others does the contrary; at times has a tang, at times is without savor, sometimes submerging the valleys with great floods.
In time and with water, everything changes.
-Leonardo da Vinci
We’re both pretty sure that whenever we next watch “UP,” we’ll be happily teary eyed at the memories from this magical place…
For a tiny taste of falling water in Oregon, visit Silver Creek Falls State Park and take the trail down through misty cavern behind the South Falls.
P.S. This waterfall thing can be addicting. Ted’s now added Angel Falls to his list…