Child by the River

He felt like a kid again as he photographed waterfall beauty

This game of photography I play is great fun, primarily because it naturally encourages me to explore new places. New places lead to new experiences, and new experiences can sometimes trigger different emotions.

If photo stops are like games, as I eluded, this stop was a winner! Bonanza Falls, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, truly made me feel like a kid again. I was smiling ear to ear while jumping on rocks in what was a combination of hopscotch and frogger, and my foot only slid into the river twice — albeit at the same dang spot!

Moments before I took this photograph, I was standing on a flat, copper-stained slate shelf looking at my reflection in the water below — the reflection of my 14-year-old self. Positioned above the waterfall, as I watched the upstream current progress toward me, the water seemed to collect my thoughts, gently giving them a ride down the shoot. Those thoughts were my dreams, and I dream in reality — in part by embracing the present while admiring the past. As I watched my dreams float by, I noticed the grooves shaped into the stone. It made me wonder how many autumns it took for this river to make such a marvelous sculpture.

Details like this can be easily overlooked but are extremely rewarding when you stop to notice them. Pause. Close your eyes. Inhale fall and exhale stress. Most importantly, take in your beautiful surroundings. After all, although moments like this don’t always last a long time, they can stay with us forever. If you embrace the magic of appreciation, the appreciation of nature will bring you joy.

This was just a stop along the way. I had small expectations, but ended up with a big reward. I found something while looking for nothing: I found my childhood by the river.

P.S. Bonanza Falls, in Ontonagon County’s Porcupine Mountains, are easy to reach. They’re located on the Big Iron River, south of Silver City. Numerous natural pools and small drops invite exploration. To get there from Silver City, take M-64 south and follow the signs to the falls via a short gravel road on the west side of the highway. See more of Nick Irwin’s works at or on Instagram: irwin.nick.

Plan It!

Porcupine Mountains

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