A river separated us from the waterfall. Its current leading to the streams and strong enough to sweep us like dust under a rug.
"Can I make it?" I asked, not yet seeing the river.
"I don't know," he said, "I've never seen you jump." There is neither an end to our obstacles nor to the strength we have to overcome them.
We came to the river. I inhaled and exhaled, loosening the cramped muscles and calming the quickened thumps of my heartbeat. I couldn't hold onto him, it would only make things worse, but I didn't need to. I've done ballet, I thought, I can definitely do this. All it would take was a jump, legs extending to take a leap of faith. I jumped, with certainty, and landed on the other side. Finally, after the mosquitoes, the spiders, and the limitations I had placed on myself, I had made it to the waterfall. I looked to the entrance where the people had stayed, cheering me on, my photographer standing with them after she'd come looking for me. All this time they never left, too interested in seeing whether I would make it. I saw the photographer wave, signaling that she would start taking pictures. I tried to do some yoga poses and found that I could barely move. My body was too tired, beaten and raw. I couldn't hold a pose regardless of how much effort I put in. Why can't I move? It's just not possible, I thought, having come all this way and arriving only to fail at the one thing that was never a challenge to begin with. I didn't want to make anyone wait; over at the entrance the photographer was ready and I couldn't let her down. The only pose I could still hold was a lotus, and I sat, wanting to scream my frustration in harmony with the roar of the water. I began to speak, my words drowned out by the heavy currents. I said,
"God, I'm just a girl who came to take a few pictures. I don't know if this place is right for me, or if the energy suits me or not, all I know is that this place is huge and I was alone in it. You've given me so many gifts but you haven't seen what good I can make of them, not yet. Let me dance. Let me show you what I can accomplish." Maybe it wasn't divine intervention, only the tiredness that had engulfed me, but soon after all sound became numb. The waterfall's roar became the muffled squeak of a mouse, and I had no idea what was going on. I looked over at the hiker, standing with his arms crossed behind me, and asked him if he'd heard anything. He had no idea what I was talking about, and I understood nothing had changed but me. Turning again to look over the edge of the waterfall, I took my hoody off. My photographer wanted me to stand in one place, on a little piece of rock circled by the two streams before they dropped from the cliff. I felt as If I were being pushed closer to the edge through no will of my own, until I was two steps from its end, and started posing, or simply moving. The onlookers over at the entrance rushed to my photographer, yelling,
"Stop taking pictures!"
"Put the Camera down!"
"The girl in the bikini is crazy!" I sat again, by the edge, placing my palms together as if in prayer. There were no tears streaming but my emotions came pouring out. My true wishes became clear, I wanted everyone to learn yoga; to arrive at this state of feeling. I wanted to help lead them there. It sounds unoriginal, I know, corny even, but at that time I truly felt what yoga was: a way to experience the connection shared by separate things. I was completely happy; I didn't need anything else. I took a picture, which ended up being the worst one I've ever taken since I was all worn out and messy, but I wanted to remember the smile I carried that day. It was the best one I've ever had, like the smile the photographer held since the moment I met her. I took the picture for myself, something by which to remember the transformation I'd gone through, when I found out who I really was and what I was capable of. I turned to the hiker who was looking at me like I had gone insane, and asked him if he was ready to go. After an awkward pause he said yeah, and I asked for his hand and led him away.
To be continued...