Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sounds of Water

When it rains here in our favorite deluge style, the gutters on the front of my house sound as if they might soon tear away from the roof, though I choose to believe that's just the sound of water cascading over the edge. My own little waterfall--no need to leave home. The back gutters are easy to clean from a stepladder and I do so fairly regularly. The front gutters require outside help.

 It rains in Argentina, too; I slopped through Buenos Aires, cold and bedraggled, feeling a little sorry for myself but accustomed, after years of northwest rain, to going out in the downpour--what else was I going to do?

But the sound of water I remember--and the memory is clearer than the recording, though I recorded a short video, just to get the sound--the sound of water I remember from the trip is the roar of Iguazú Falls.

We took the long, long bus trip up from Rosario with the full group of students, stopping for supper at a gas station convenience store (a full array of options: ham and cheese empanadas, ham and cheese pizza, ham and cheese sandwiches), overnight and stiff, one bad movie after another at full volume, because the speakers only worked on one side of the bus.

No matter. I traced the route on a map so I'd know where I'd been, but the point this time, more than the journey, was the destination.

Magnificent, stunning, immense, imposing, thunderous, rushing, loud, awe-inspiring. . . it's a good place for adjectives of excess, of speechlessness (words fail me), big broad strokes that don't quite cover it.

It's a good place for a lover of detail. Practical soul that I am, I was impressed by the catwalks, long, almost delicate-looking metal pathways suspended across river channels and above muddy hollows, allowing thousands upon thousands of visitors to creep up close enough to peek over the falls without turning the forest into one big mud wallow, every day just a bit wider.

It's a good place for a waterfall collector. The main falls, the side channels--they're all stunning. They're all loud. And the sound, as in the repeated yet varied motion I never tire of watching, is also one big sameness, an indecipherable, indistinguishable roar--but it's also a thousand bells and shouts and hollow roars that, one by one, almost separable, always identical yet faintly distinct, make up the whole.


  1. Those photographs are just incredible -- I feel like I can't get enough of them! I love water, and green, and this looks like heaven to me. Plus, you mentioned empanadas (which I've only had once, but they made an impression, nevertheless). Heaven must be Argentina, with waterfalls AND empenadas.

    1. It's a pretty great combination, waterfalls and empanadas. Now, Argentina doesn't have a monopoly on either. . . in Ecuador they made yummy little sweet banana empanadas.