As we wound along the path through the trees, the view would retreat and return, retreat and return, in a game of hide and seek, and in the seeking we would find her… The Victoria Falls and her great fury and smoke. Like a blues singer wrapped around her mic, echoing from the depths of her soul.
Through the break in the trees we could see her different angles reveal themselves, the singer’s profile from left, right, straight on. At each lookout point, we stood silently watching the Zambezi plunging over the cliff: gently, furiously and not at all.
This is dry season on the Zambezi. This is October to early December in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Each year at this time, the Falls retreat more and more as the rains cease and the river’s water level drops. But the power of the musician still captivates; if anything, this is when we get to truly see what she’s made of: the rocks and cliff face, their ruggedness and smoothness. This is when bravehearts dance a little close to her, swimming in the tiny pool on the edge: Devils Pool.
As we continued to the end of the path, we could hear the music ringing out across the ravine to our side in the Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. The music of nature in its extremes. But there was a softness to it, the spray not raining over us as it does in the wet season, particularly from January to March, the thunder a little calmer.
There is something deeply reassuring about seeing the mighty Victoria Falls like this, witnessing her changes. She is like everything else in nature, she ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes. Like the moon, like the grass and trees, like the migratory birds that come and go. She has her cycles, her lows and highs, her work days and holidays.
In the man-made world, we often expect things to never stop, to never tire, to turn over consistently, to be always moving and producing and growing. When batteries die and laptops freeze, we anxiously run about trying to recharge and reboot, as quickly as possible. We try to halt the aging of our own bodies, stimulate with caffeine when energy dips.
But we are just like nature, like Victoria. We need to rest and restore, we need the quiet between the storm, and the storm between the quiet. And with both seasons there are great positives: in the lull, we see more clearly, we hear and feel the subtleties. In the blaze, we feel the thrill and vigour and power, we create and move and shake.
Gazing at the great African waterfall downstream from our home on the river, we are grateful for the end of year respite, and take nature’s lead: connecting with her rhythm and letting ourselves rest awhile.