What really happened at the waterfalls…

Your blogger at the Canyon Falls

Your blogger at the Canyon Falls

Good morning, readers, friends, family, stumblers-upon-this-blog!

I just posted the above photo on Facebook with an itty bitty explanation:  Magical hike to the Canyon Falls yesterday. Met up with friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. Other hikers met up with old-time friends. Even though it was a bit slippery and snow-covered, the melt is happening and river rushing!

Then decided to write my friend Susan a long email explaining what really happened. You know how you can’t really write what really happened on Facebook in twenty words.  In the middle of this crazy convoluted email to Susan another random thought arose.  “Jeez, Kathy, if you’re sharing this Susan, maybe one or two other people might be interested in reading it.  How about a blog?”

The fingers stopped typing mid-sentence while the head pondered.  Finally the fingers flipped over to WordPress and, OK, here’s the rest of the story.

River hike

River hike

It all started in the Nite Owl restaurant amidst eggs, hash browns and toast.  (Oh, goodness, this may be a long story…)  A woman sat up at the counter eating, probably, her own eggs, hash browns and toast. (I did not look at her plate, so this is all conjecture.)

Barry asks, “Who is that woman?”  Kathy replies, “I haven’t a clue.”

Some of you know that I have a “condition” with an inability to voluntarily call forth images of people, places or things.  It also often involves face blindness.  My condition is not acute, as I can see images, but mostly involuntary ones.  You can read about aphantasia here.

You must understand I can recognize almost everyone seen regularly, and in context.  However, make a person out of context or not seen in five years–it’s impossible.

Cedar root

Cedar root

On the way to the bathroom the woman looks up, smiles, and says, “How are you doing, Kathy?”

Oh no.  I haven’t yet developed the maturity to calmly explain the aphantasia challenges and lovingly ask who the person might be, so I fake it.  We have a sweet tiny conversation about weather and how nice it was to see her again. (Which it truly was.  She looked like an interesting person.  I was happy to see her–but more like as if it was the first time.)

If you’re a blog reader, dear woman at the Nite Owl, I am so sorry for this!

As we drive toward Canyon Falls, just south of L’Anse, I tell Barry that it is time to mature and just start ‘fessing up when meeting a stranger/friend.  Just tell ’em about the face blindness.  Be brave.

Rushing river

Rushing river

The short hike into Canyon Falls involved slippin’ and slidin’.  Snow measured one to two feet in places, but we walked on the tamped-down snow very carefully, keeping sharp attention on our feet.  What a beautiful morning!  Temperature hovered around 50 degrees (10C). If we’d hiked any later, our boots may have sunk in slush and snow.  Any earlier, and ice might send a soul tumblin’ down.

The rushing river tumbled through the canyon, splashing into yellow-tinted waterfalls.  The river paid no attention to its snow-covered parts, continuing its merry melt.  We breathed deep in delight.  We met a woman with ski poles and admired her forethought.  Those ski poles helped keep her upright on the path.

A few moments later the pole-woman met two hikers right behind us.  Loud shrieks of excitement!  Turns out they attended school together.  What a reunion!

I told Barry this was a magical place.  A friend once met a woman on this trail who had called the ambulance for her sister–500 miles away.  That’s how magical this place can be.  (OK, I have decided this on the basis of maybe four stories.  But it’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.)

Barry did a photo shoot at the falls before we turned around.

Suddenly a man appeared on the trail.

“Hi Cousin!”  says the man.

Cousin Kathy

Cousin Kathy

Cousin?  I look the man up and down and around.  All three male cousins click through the face-blind brain.  This strange man does not seem to fit the remembrance of cousins Troy, Joe or Tom.  Perhaps he’s Marty (the husband of cousin Tanz?)  Another side story:  Mom and I ran into Troy in the grocery store in Yale last month and I did not recognize him.  He, too, said, “Hi Cousin!”

However, you will be proud to know, maturity had blossomed since breakfast at the Nite Owl.

“I’m sorry,” said Mature Kathy, “Who are you?”

That’s a terrible thing to have to ask a cousin, but maturity can sometimes win out.

“Bob,” he replies, “Bob Orton!”

Favorite pic of my grandpa Orton

Favorite pic of my grandpa Orton

I sigh in relief.  Bob Orton is a fellow known from the days when I attended Pow Wows in the area.  He’s not a real cousin.  But ten years ago we decided to announce ourselves as cousins because my grandparents were Ortons.  So we have to be cousins somewhere along the line, right?

I explain briefly about aphantasia and face blindness.  He tells me his partner, Darlene, is waiting in the truck–where another lovely reunion takes place.  (I recognize Darlene’s face.)

We drove back toward home with big smiles on our faces–such a glorious Earth Day filled with magic, snow melting and old friends!


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in April 2018 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to What really happened at the waterfalls…

  1. dawnkinster says:

    Wow, must have been a beautiful day for that many people to be out at the falls. Which, by the way, I have never been to, nor heard of. Maybe my next trip up there I should stop!

  2. I got a kick, well not a real kick but, I’m sure you have heard the expression, from reading your story. I have a slight case of what you have. Or maybe not. Someone will look familiar and I have no idea why. Sometimes it is someone that I knew from work but they know who I am, name and all. I have never asked for a name. Too embarrassed to do that. I like the pics that Barry took. It continues to look cold there. Two feet of snow , wow.

    • Kathy says:

      I love that you got a kick out of this–thank you for letting me know. You know, it seems like a lot of us get these memory/recognition issues as we get older. And how embarrassing that can be! I think this aphantasia thing just kind of compounds the natural memory issues a bit. It was such a fun day Sunday and I had a blast writing this blog post. (By the way, at our house the snow is melting so quickly. Probably even less than a foot of snow in the woods now, and there are plenty of bare patches.)

  3. Lori says:

    Are those falls near where you live? Lovely day filled with mysterious unexpected meetings.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, about a half hour from our house. We are lucky to have quite a few nearby waterfalls. I am still smiling about our delightful day.

  4. Oh NOOOOOOOOOO. Please don’t turn all mature on me (on us), Kathy. Mature can stop the ability to see the magic. Maturity can place you toward the normal, and you and I know that normal – well, normal is just no fun. But this post is much fun, and I felt like your words slid me along the path with you and Barry as you walked and watched and waited to see if any other unknown cousins appeared.
    Because after all, in some way, we are ALL cousins, Cousin Kathy. xoxo

    • Kathy says:

      You always get me laughing, dear friend! OOOOOKKKKKKK, maybe maturity IS over-rated and oh sooooo normal, and who wants that? I guess I was aiming for honesty more than maturity but will have to think more about it. Glad you could see the fun in this post and on that path. Gosh it was an awesome day! Still smiling when I’m thinking about it. (And Barry got a column out of it for the newspaper, too.) You are an amazing cousin. Thank god we’re related somehow.

  5. debyemm says:

    Cosmic cousin, I like that. You will muddle through to something that feels honest and comfortable to your sensitive and caring heart, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Wow, Deb, thank you for saying just that. It’s true–we do keep muddling through until we find something. (And that may change with each circumstance as conditions change.) Thank you so much for sharing that this morning. Appreciated, cosmic cousin!

  6. Sybil Nunn says:

    I explain my Aphantasia to most folk I meet coz I feel I need to explain to them why I might not acknowledge or remember meeting them before. It’s quite freeing as it puts the onus on them. I ask folk to remind me where we met and that will help me with further conversations.

    I think you’ll find being honest makes it all less stressful … not that you are a stressy sort of gal.

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I am so glad you stopped by to read and comment. I was wondering what your take would be on this, seeing we both have the same situation. You’ve probably had to be quite frank and up-front, since your condition is more severe. Thanks for your advice and we’ll see if I can be as “mature” as you. 🙂

  7. P.j. grath says:

    Well, that was interesting, as was the earlier post I’d missed but went back and read tonight, following the link. I am married to a very visual person, but I, like you, tend to retain impressions more than pictures. Hmmmmmm. Thinking about this….

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to your comment. When I learned there was a name to my “condition” so many things made sense. I do worry a bit about memory in later life because it’s been harder to retain things without images. At book club the other night we discussed this and learned that three out of eight of us have more difficulty with images. Apparently, it’s a continuum with some people experiencing severe blackness with no images. One of our members could visualize perfectly from age two, along with vivid memories of smells. I cannot imagine that!

  8. Karen says:

    Well I can see I’ve got some maturing to do. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a couple of women say “hi, Karen” at our club and I just say “hi” back. Someone else will ask me who that was and I say “I’ve no idea”. I’ve been to embarrassed to say I don’t remember their name. 😦

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Karen! I laughed when I typed the word “maturing”. It’s hard to tell how much of our forgetfulness is due to aging, aphantasia, face-blindness or whatever. It seems like more and more of my friends tell stories like these (or forgetting names) all the time!

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