The climb down into the canyon was never easy. Even for a young man of, say, twenty-five it would have been tricky. For Buck, and his sixty eight years, there was no pretense of bravado. He picked each step with care mindful that one misstep would quickly and easily send him plunging to his death. And that death, if not instantaneous, would be a long, bitter and painful exit. Dying alone with infection from broken bones was not Buck’s idea of a vacation well spent.
No, Buck was precise during his descent. Once at the bottom he found himself in his much loved and singular, if not rugged, paradise. There was only one thing to do now. He quickly shed his clothes and standing, as he stated it, “With ass, dingle and balls in the wind!” plunged into the pool formed by the cascade. His “dingle” instinctively cried “holy shit” and fled into shrinkage as the cold water immersed it and Buck. Even before he surfaced there was a smile of abandonment on his face. The complete extraction of civilization pulled out of him like a tumor. The extraction for which he had so long craved. Heaven on Earth? He wasn’t sure that it was but it was certainly the next best thing. Whatever “it” was “it” was right. There was no wrinkle of wrongness in this. Nope, not an iota of evil or awkwardness or restriction. Freedom. Plain: and simple.
For nearly an hour Buck swam, dived and splashed like a three year old. When he dove he spotted Rainbow Trout gently fanning the sandy, rocky bottom as pyrite glinted in the sun’s rays back to the sky. When he surfaced he would yell at the top of his lungs and listen to the echoes fading in ever more silent repetition; like a passing freight train disappearing in the distance. This was home. This was surcease. This was natural exhilaration as God meant it to be when He created us. At least, that’s how Buck saw it.
Eventually, he got out and grabbed his bar of biodegradable soap from his backpack and bathed. Even with biodegradable soap he was cognizant not to over-do the lather. It didn’t sit right with him watching the suds float down and away from him. Just enough soap to rid the smell of three days hiking and then he laid out on a rock in the sun to dry.