Take the shuttle to Zion Lodge--a lovely, rustic National Park lodge . Kids play under a massive old cottonwood, dwarfing them in size, and in calmness. We're excited to hike to Upper, Middle, and Lower spring-fed pools and waterfalls. More chances to romp in the coolness and witness more of this unique Sandstone canyon.
We cross the scenic footbridge, and then make a left, immediately heading up toward the Middle Pool (even though the kids think we're JUST going up 70 feet to the Lower pool!) It's a bit of an elevation gain (150 ft) but the kids get focused, stopping for striking views of the canyon and to stick their fingers in the cool spring water that dribbles from rocks along the way.
I welcome in the sun-drenched sandstone ridges--the ancient layers of sand and later shale--still visible like interwoven designs. The trail winds up and around to the Middle Pool. A perfect spot for lunch. We hike up river. Shoes off. Feet drenched in cool mountain water. We slippery-slide "ice skate" on the flat, mossy rocks like ridges of sand burned into time. Nova says, "Finally, we find somewhere where we belong!" A girl after my own heart.
I observe water striders glistening across a still pool in the river. Their big and round geometric shadows create such a different image, an alien shadow crawls beneath the water. I think about the shadow I leave behind me. I know my here it must be light and airy and living off freedom. Freedom of a big open sky and more seconds in my day. More time to breathe and laugh. I want to carry this shadow with me always.
Onward to the Upper Pool. A rounded-out sandstone bowl. Light mist of water gently drops into the liquid crystal below. An ancient meeting place. Then and now. People gaze upward, completing the connective circle below. Cool air brushes off the water, sends a chill down into me. I pull on my beanie, and revel in its warmth. The warmth of a beautiful place. Friends. Family. How lucky am I? I wrap myself up in it all.
We hike down to the Lower Pool. Waterfall raining down on me. Surprise! Gentle mist turns to showers and I'm soaked! Ahead, worn sandstone cliffs transform into thrones. Edgeless and aristocratic. Graceful tunnels eroded over time. Patience. If we all had this much. I feel a sense of timelessness here. One drop of a waterfall. One day in a time span of 200 million years. Zion welcomes us in. And I'm glad we waited.
A poem written by Nova inspired by the Emerald Pools:
Grasshoppers that swim
Pushing, crawling through the pools
I like how they swim!