I found the strangest waterfall in a narrow channel along a flat plain in
the gully near my home. It was too flat for a fall, and yet I heard the
unmistakable gurgle of a waterfall. So I crawled down into the belly of the
gully to check it out more closely.
Even at close range, the water still appeared to run across a plain
without a fall. But then I saw what looked like a hole in the middle of the
flowing stream. So I picked up a stick to poke around to check how deep it
was. Well, in doing so, I upset the hole and the gurgle and everything.
Whatever hole might have been there I blocked, then plugged up, then
eliminated altogether. Whatever fall might have been there, I leveled.
Whatever channel might have been there, I eroded. I ended up with a flat
alluvial plain, flowing smoothly, making no soothing gurgle, and loaded with mud, mud, mud.
The whole thing was just a result of the uncertainty principle, which
simply says that you can't have your cake and eat it too.
The moment you touch something, you change it irreversibly, and forever.
Any contact of any kind with anything results in change — change both in the
thing and in you. You're never the same again. You can't be. And neither can it.
But that's the beauty as well as the horror. It's frightening sometimes
to think of the power we have to change each other, to change a small part
of the world. But that's the beauty as well. That opportunity to create an
entire new world through every small change we make — that opportunity is
glorious, and one I'd never pass up, not for all the undecaying gold in the world.
I destroyed that waterfall today and, in so doing, I lost something. But I
gained something, too. I gained contact. I touched, and though I somehow
destroyed by that touch, I also created — something perhaps no better, maybe
worse, but something that now carries a part of me forever.
That's always something more.
And that something more is precious.