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Greece 13: Pride Goeth before a Fall

The narrow valley became even more narrow as we moved inland.  We were soon treading on a shorter, unfamiliar, delicate grass that felt wet and spongy under the feet-- and very slippery!   If smashed onto a flat surface of rock this grass proved itself to be as slippery as banana peels!  Suddenly my gyros seemed whacked out, and whether from lack of sleep, water in the ear, or the foreign alignment of the magnetic field working on my brain, I began to waver, and wobble, and become more and more uncertain of my step.

This loss of balance came at an unfortunate time, just as the the hiking was becoming more difficult.  Our path led us back down toward the stream and there we faced a watery gap about six feet wide.  I jumped-- but it was a weak-kneed effort, and  I landed just short, my heels in water.  To keep from falling back bodily into water and muck I had to spin and sit down hard on my bottom, a maneuver I had probably not had to use since my teens.  This was enough to cause excruciating pain in my left arm.
 
At that time I was mildly disabled.  My left shoulder had "froze up on me" a few months earlier.  The doctor had called it an "encasement" of the shoulder muscle.  Muscle parts that were supposed to move over one another had somehow stuck together resulting in a greatly restricted range of motion.  It had no apparent cause. The doctor explained that such things sometimes happen when you have reached the age of 62.  He said It would eventually go away as mysteriously as it had come. Meanwhile, I could not use my left arm to tuck in my shirt tail behind my back. Attempting to do so caused a nerve-jangling pain to run down my arm. 

The act of having swung my arm forcibly behind me and having landed on it with all my weight had brought tears to my eyes and released a banshee-like howl from my throat.  I was unable to continue for several minutes. My daughter patiently watched my recovery, but made creases in her forehead as she likely questioned the wisdom of leading her father further into the wild. Fortunately, although the pain was intense, it did not last for long after the arm was put in a neutral position again. 

I insisted that we continue. Faced immediately with a new water hazard, we would have to either wade through it, or go back up to higher ground.  We chose going up.  We climbed over several rock walls and traversed the short sloped terraces between them to reach what was probably a goat path about fifty feet higher than the stream.  Because it was not possible to scale these walls without taking handholds we found ourselves carefully studying the stones for signs of snakes. 

Shaky, but determined, I followed my daughter at a distance of a several yards as we approached the fall.  We never got quite there. The waterfall existed, but it was a rather tiny one, and our path ended at a forty foot drop that was still a hundred yards away from it.  We could see it though. The waterfall was a single spout of water no grander than if it had  issued from an expiring fire hose.  Vertigo kept me from going to the path's very end where my daughter stood, so I stopped to take a photo of her as she looked toward the fall, trying to see her way forward. 

I did not realize what a remarkable shot it was until later.  It shows my daughter poised on the precipice amid a jumbled landscape washed alternately in Parrish-worthy sunlight and buttery shade, while the waterfall in the background is nearly invisible, a pale brushstroke to fill a wee bit of space.

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Cydonia photo: ESA

This is the journal of David Ross
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