Posts Tagged With: Victoria Falls

089: Boiling Pot

Chelsi showed her ticket to the guards at the gate of the falls.  While they stamped it she signed her name in the visitor’s book.  It was the third time she had signed it; the first time was last April, with Chad and Aubrey, the second in June, with her mother, and now alone.  Chelsi was new to travelling alone.  For the last two year, any time she even ventured outside of her district in Northwest province she took a travel buddy.  But even from the initial thought of coming to Livingston after COS conference, she didn’t think to invite anyone else.  It wasn’t even because she thought no one would want to come; though it was true, at this point in her service nearly everyone she knew would have already been, multiple times.

The guard held her stamped ticket out to her.  Chelsi replaced the pen on the book, took her ticket and crossed over into the park.   She just wanted to be alone, to decide what she wanted to do, whenever she decided she wanted to do it.  Not having to constantly worry about enjoyment, problems of another person.

And she was alone, even in the park.  Only three other visitors to the park stood in line with her to buy a ticket that morning, and they had all first stopped at the craft stalls.  It was the second week of school, too soon for student field trips, and a Wednesday, so no church groups.

The added rain from the season helped the foliage grow extra lush.  Grasses grew up around her knees, large leafed vines crept up into the trees, while tree branch, heavy with rain and mist on their leaves bent down to greet her.  Chelsi had in mind a particular spot in the park to visit this time.  Her feet followed the cobble stone to a rock stairway that looked to drop off, right into the canyon.  ‘This Way’ a yellow arrow pointed, ‘to the Boiling Pot.’

She took the first step down; every other time she had come to Victoria Falls the stair way was closed, due to the height of the river below.  Though it was rainy season now, most of the water was still upstream in the Zambezi, making its way down from Ichelenge, Mwinilunga and across Western province.  The water wouldn’t reach Livingstone and the falls until April.

Chelsi continued her decent.  The stairwell started with even steps cut into the bedrock of the canyon. A wrot iron hand rail began just as the depth of the stairs dropped off.  Now the short stairs were rocks buried and cemented in to place.  It took all of Chelsi’s concentration not to lose her footing. When she did pause to look around she found that the trees had given way to scrubby bushes, which were clinging to the rock face of the canyon for their life.  Yet with just a few more steps, her gaze was met with the canopy of the forest below.

The trees grew taller and taller as she carefully, carefully, climbed down into the forest.

At the bottom as heavy mist clung to the air.  Huge leaves of the Elephant Ear bush hung over the path, vines with heart shaped leave bounded the canopy of the trees together and epiphytes dangled their roots to brush the top of Chelsi’s head, just as children sitting on a bridge might to the oarsman passing under.  And here, Chelsi noticed, the chorus of insects and birds is so thick you can no longer hear the falls. 

She followed the path, across a bridge, under a boulder, across a bridge, over a rock wall, and up, up, up, she scrambled, onto a flat rock. No soil, no trees, she looked out into the clear, where the powerful sound of rushing water again filled her ears.

Crossing the rock the little canyon opened up to the foot of the falls where the water crashed and cut into the rock walls of the canyon, forcing it back, creating a giant eddy of churning water, like water boiling hard in a pot.   From her position she could the Victoria Falls Hotel and the bridge that connects Zambia to Zimbabwe. She had look down into this part of the canyon before.  Even with high water, it didn’t look like much more than a swirl.  But change your position, change your perspective.

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Categories: Adventure, Nature | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

060: Victoria Falls

I’m glad we got the umbrella, Chelsi thought to herself whirling it on her shoulder. The sun cast through the fabric creating a blue halo for Chelsi’s shadow.  She smiled, looking ahead at her dear mother chatting with their Zimbabwean cultural and natural history interpreter, Cynthia.  What would we have done without Cynthia?

The vegetation around the cemented stone path was lush. Bright green palms hung down, drip, drip, dripping mist on to path.  Just a step off the path, a fawn colored bush buck grazed on the tall grass.  Chelsi did not understand though why all the grazers hadn’t flocked to the edge of falls.  Just on the other side of the fence, the boundary for the Victoria Falls National Park, the landscape was scorched.  Dry grass crunched under foot and brown leaves clung to thin trees.  And to think it probably wouldn’t rain again till January.  At once she was relieved and startled that she was glad to call her home Solwezi, where tall trees would still be flush with green leaves till the next rain.

Chelsi continued following her companion down the path, until they reach an off shoot with a clearing to her left.  She took it to the rail, figuring her mother and Cynthia would eventually stop to look for themselves and she would catch up then.  The Mist that Thunders, that’s for sure.  Water gushed over the edge of the earth, hitting the rocks below with such force the water sprang back like upward rain.  When the Zambezi called it back, the water returned reluctantly, falling as a slow, delicate mist.  Chelsi listened hard for the tinkling of it on her umbrella over the thundering of the falls.

Her thin cotton, chitenge dress was becoming drenched, but was glad she passed up the poncho.  She knew the day would come, even in Northwest Provence that she would wish to be as wet and cool as she was now.  She soaked it in.

“Hey there hun, how are you doing?” It was the voice of her dear mother, calling from the protected cover of the trees.  They have turned back for me, she turned to face them.

“Good,” Chelsi smiled. “I’m glad we got the umbrella.”

The two women laughed.

“You don’t want to get a better look at the falls?”

Her dear mother shouted over the roar of the falls, “No, we’re okay here.  I can see.” Even wrapped in your thick rain poncho, huh? Chelsi looked back over her shoulder.  An electric colored rainbow revealed itself through the mist. The colors shown brighter than any she had seen before, so bright in fact it appears to be casting a shadow; the colors there where a subtle pastel.

“You don’t want to see the double rainbow?” Chelsi called back, now looking at the empty space where her mother had been standing.  After one more look she hurried after them.

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Double Rainbow!

Categories: Adventure, Fantasy, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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