“Heaven is under our feet and over our heads” ~ Henry David Thoreau
A few times in our lives we find ourselves at a location that somehow connects the earthly landscape to something much greater – sublime moments that grab our attention and hold us in their grip. I experienced this profoundly on my recent trip to the Western Canadian Rockies. Outside of Banff, at Yoho National Park in a remote part of the cliffs there is an unexpected natural sanctuary – the Takakkaw Falls. “Takakkaw” translates in the First Nations language of Cree to the word “magnificent” and “Yoho” translates to “wow” – and the native people who first inhabited these lands had it right!
The highest waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies plunging from above at a height of 1,246 feet with an 833- foot free fall creating a commanding thunder and a mesmerizing sight of beauty. The falls are the result of meltwater from the Daly Glacier, part of the 15-square mile Waputik Icefield. In amazement, as you approach this natural splendor, the cascading waters create the most picturesque mist through the pines. And the freshness and aroma of this mist is both incredible to behold and life-giving to breathe.
We arrived late afternoon, and as I stood on this sacred ground, I was enchanted and in reverence of the sheer elegance of the way the waters in a dance with the rocks, freely surrendered to the power of the gravitational flow. And how the idyllic and breathtaking dark green forest stood at attention to this marvel in continuous wonderous awe. There was an intimacy here, a oneness with all of the elements and I assented to the unity of the moment. Closing my eyes and becoming aware of the vast wonder surrounding me, I listened deeply within. I felt a connection, a familiarity, a cradling, an embrace that filled me with serenity. This rich, meaningful encounter with the present moment– a sheer contentment, a consecration, a transformation from the presence of this holy and extraordinary natural wonder. Opening myself in silence to be serenaded by the vibrancy of the sound of the rushing water, and to breathe deeply in the invigorating scent of the moist pine fragrance. William Shakespeare once said that: “the earth has music for those who listen.” Yes, understanding of this on a whole new level transpired in this experience as I ushered in the awareness of a natural orchestra vibrating through my whole being. It was as if there was no space and time, and I felt this sense of closeness with the First Nations people who had dwelled in this wonder; relishing how they, like those of us who now visit this stunning site, had gazed in amazement at this hidden gem of power and magnificence.
Albert Einstein claimed that when we “look deeply into nature, then we understand everything better.” In my reverie at this spot, I found tears flowing – tears of gratitude for being alive in this time, space, and place to experience this manifestation of sheer delight. I just wanted to linger in the solitude of this wonderment. Suddenly, I felt sunshine on my brow and as I opened my eyes, there was the most mesmerizing rainbow glowing through the falls. I felt it was a Divine gift bestowed from the Heavens affirming the holiness of this encounter.
I would love you to share back if you have ever felt this kind of sacred relationship with nature?
The Heavens are telling the glory of God, and all creation is shouting for joy! ~ “Canticle of the Sun” ~ Composer Marty Haugen
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