What a great day for a picnic at Small Falls! Mary Hansen remembered saying to Ted Edmunds, just the day before everyone thought she had drowned. Mary didn’t have romantic feelings for Ted, but she wished she did. Such a nice guy, and not too bad looking either. I’m sure he will make some girl real happy someday, she remembered thinking.
Mary was walking along the flat rocks near the beach area, when I saw her. To say Small Falls had a beach is an exaggeration, it was only a patch of sand below the rocks which provided a nice spot to enter the water for a swim. She had just been pulling up her top, and I wasn’t sure she had a swimsuit on underneath, so I called out, “Hey Mary, how are you doing these days?” before she went any further.
Turns out she did have a swimsuit on, a nice black athletic sort of one-piece, so my embarrassment fell primarily to how stupid my question must have seemed to her. “Just fine, a great day for a swim!” she shouted back, over Small Falls’ roar. “Good to see you Mary,” I called and waived to let her know I was continuing along my hike.
I turned back just once; it seemed to me that as she dove in, she forgot instantly the long bus ride from Reno, the newspaper headlines with her photo, how it all could have been different if she had married Ted.
And for a couple hours on into the rest of the afternoon, Mary Hansen swam and listened to the falls and the birds, watched some turtles sitting on logs, saw a few fish and a swarm of minnows.
She dried off in the cooling sun and knew anything she had to do now would be up to her. The end of longing isn’t a place to arrive; her journey was to be like the beauty of the tumbling falls, in synch with the cascade’s burbles & bubbles.