Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: 'Waterfalls'

In the depths of winter, Adelle MacDowell, 14, of Johnson, VT brings us a summer memory – the excitement of meeting friends at a Vermont waterfall and spending the day jumping, swimming, laughing.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Desiree Holmes, Essex Junction
In the depths of winter, Adelle MacDowell, 14, of Johnson, VT brings us a summer memory – the excitement of meeting friends at a Vermont waterfall and spending the day jumping, swimming, laughing. ";

Dappled sun that finds its way through the leaves and branches
Draws patterns on my arms, and it is a funny kind of quiet here, the sound
Muffled by the rushing waterfalls
A little chill creeps up my legs and arms and I almost, almost give in to the shiver
Toes curled against the slick moss black rock, here a shard of glass from
A beer bottle someone smashed; some idiot found their way into this sanctuary
Letting my towel fall from my shoulders and taking a tiny step forward
Deep, black water, cliff undercut and waterfalls tumbling down above
A log across one of the falls – I walked it once, slick and terrifying, but only to show off
Now, voices drift to me over the dull sound of the falls, friends coming
I got here first, ran all the way along the narrow path to be the first one in,
And now, they’re here
Better jump, and fast
Body contradicts me, no, no, no, too cold
But mind over matter and
A gasp escapes my lips but is cut off as I plunge under
Body in a straight line, deep, deeper until my toes touch the bottom and my hands
Search frantically for a rock to carry up – not too small
But not too large to swim upward with, either
Got one, and kick hard, head pounding, chest aching from holding my breath
Break the surface finally
Laughing, swim to the edge
Now they’re here – moms with packed lunches and towels,
Little kids who squeal with delight
And my friends, hesitating a little, but one by one they jump to join me
And some of them scream at the cold,
But soon the water feels perfect – we could stay in all day
When the first of us starts to shiver, we resist it
But it spreads, it’s contagious and soon our arms and legs are shaking and
Teeth clacking, blue lips and shivering bodies, we clamber out of the water
Towels spread on the big rock,
Desperately trying to soak in the warmth of the few rays of sun that fall across us
When we’re not soaking anymore, only damp, someone suggests we go in again
We’re undecided, the hairs on our arms still stand on end and
The occasional shiver spasms through us
And then the magic words “Well, I’m going in” concrete our resolve
And we jump, and it’s harder this time, and our lips turn blue faster
But even as we’re leaving, we yearn for more – “We should do this every week,” and
“Can’t we stay?”
But parents have Things To Do and Places To Be and one last look over our shoulders is all we get
One last look at the great, roaring falls is all we get
But it’ll still be there for us – for me, nearly in my backyard
Only two miles through the woods
And for them, not more than a fifteen-minute drive
We’ll be back

The Young Writers Project provides VPR's audience another avenue to hear and read selections and see visual art and photography from Vermont's young writers and artists. The project is a collaboration organized by Susan Reid at the Young Writers Project. The thoughts and ideas expressed here are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Vermont Public Radio.

Latest Stories