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North Silver Falls Oregon. the trail takes you behind this beautiful waterfall with a huge cave like overhang.  Silver falls state park, Oregon

Filed Under , on January 6th, 2018

The Nature of Faith

By Seth Kabala

We and California family members spent the last Saturday of 2017 exploring the trails and waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park. We’ve spent ample time hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge and other areas surrounding the Portland metro, but these Silver Falls waterfalls were something special–not better, just special. For starters, we were forced to hike before the hike due to the gargantuan size of the parking lot and the thought pervading the minds of thousands of others on the last Saturday of the year, and a beautiful, sunny one at that: Hey, let’s go hiking!

We arrived at the entrance to the main park administration building, where people were standing around a pay kiosk, staring at it like it was a mystical object that would at any second perform some fantastic feat of magic. Instead, they were each hoping it would generate additional receipt paper out of oxygen atoms and resume printing parking passes.

To use the aforementioned gargantuan parking lot as a non-scofflaw, one had to either buy a parking pass prior to arrival and bring it along, or one had to buy and print a pass on-site. Hadn’t remembered, or known, I was supposed to buy a pass before arriving, and the pay kiosk lacked the paper necessary to convey official documentary parking authorization, i.e., you could pay for your parking pass, but it wouldn’t print your parking pass.

What to do?

We advanced to the administration building. We talked to an official and relayed the status of the out-of-order kiosk. She produced a hand-written parking pass and signed it and told us she would rely on our honesty to return to the kiosk and pay, thus legitimizing the hand-written pass. We left the administration building, proceeded directly to the kiosk, paid our fee, crossed the gargantuan parking lot again, by now our cardiovascular health improving at a marked pace, placed the pass on the dash of the Journey, returned to the trail-heads, and beheld natural wonders for the rest of the remaining daylight hours.

I thought I would write the slant of this column toward the steps set into the side of a cliff, sheer rock face on one side, several hundred foot drop on the other, the steps reminding me of scenes from ancient Incan ruins.

I thought I would write about the rivulets of water steadily crawling down the cliff face in an even, staggered formation, looking like a diamond pattern or a liquid, advancing spiderweb, especially when the light illuminated their mass progress and the sheer enormity of the advancing forces, fast enough to create a descending wave but slow enough so that I could focus on the descent of each drop.

I thought I would write about the bass vibrations I felt in my chest when standing behind one of the falls, its volume and ferocity and amperage of impact so great as to literally vibrate the ground around in all directions, a physical testament to its power.

I thought I would write about the crazy lady who climbed down the steeply inclined bank off the trail-head behind another waterfall, she: dressed in designer shoes and jeans and jacket and scarf and great-looking hair, holding up her hands over her head in a dual gesture of worship, inching closer and closer to the falls to the point where we thought she was cuckoo and was going to jump in, but we didn’t stick around, electing instead to laugh and point and hit the trail before she could either notice us or call us on our misinterpretation of whatever the hell it was she was doing.

(If my wife tries to tell you I, too, wanted to climb down the embankment to be closer to the water, ignore her. She lies.)

I thought I would make any or all of those (and more) happenings of the day the focal point of this piece. Instead, I want to highlight the parking pass, the faith in humanity, and the reliance on personal integrity to uphold the rules of an ordered society.

I did my part on that day. $5 deposited into the bank of my integrity. It was a good end to the year of family activities.

A good start on experiential and personal development for the year ahead.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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