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"The Bridal Veil Falls" by Mark Crimmins

You perch on a dry dead tree trunk that was rammed into the riverbank during the spring runoff, your feet dangling towards the icy clear water of the Provo River, which roars down Provo Canyon to your left. The Bridal Veil Falls tumble over the rock faces six hundred feet above you on the canyon’s southern rim. An old tram car is suspended up there near the cliff edge, dangling like a spider’s prey from the filament of the disused line. Behind it, the Eagle’s Nest Lodge balances precariously on the canyon rim, as it has for as long as you can remember.


But, abandoned for a decade, it has fallen into disuse. The cable car station at the bottom of the dormant tramway is boarded up. The stations and the lodge were badly damaged during an avalanche in 1996, ten years after you last visited the lodge disco.


Club Xeno.


For five years it was one of your favorite haunts.


You used to drive up here on Wednesday nights and pay five dollars for admission to Xeno, which included the cable car rides there and back again. For some reason—one being that it was no place for acrophobiacs—the club was never too popular. The dance floor, while never empty, was also never full: instinct, perhaps, on the part of the revellers—if they got a collective rhythm going, they could loosen the whole structure (teetering as it did on the precipice edge) and boogie themselves right into the next life.


The rockfall that destroyed the cable car stations and the brush fire that ravaged the lodge have annihilated time. You have returned, as many have, to find your living memories more alive than the phenomena that forged them, and thus you sit here and gaze upon the ruins of your past: the whole Bridal Veil Falls area is obsolete. Desolate. Its facilities—the lodge, the cable car stations and cables and all attendant minor structures—are slated for demolition. The entire site, now little more than a temptation for daredevils, has become a hazard.


And as you sit here and brood on these things, your reflections become a meditation on time: The future is a vast tectonic plate diving into the past through the subduction zone of the present.


Alpha and Omega: all comes at last to nothing.


You look again at the waterfall soon to be restored to its pristine beauty.


But behind the beauty of the bridal veil you glimpse the hideous face of Kali, and, in the mist rising from the plunging falls, Shiva himself performs his dance of destruction.



Mark Crimmins's first book, travel memoir Sydneyside Reflections, was published by Everytime Press in 2020. His short stories and flash fictions and nonfictions have been published in over seventy literary magazines and journals, including Chicago Quarterly Review, Fiction Southeast, Portland Review, Tampa Review, Apalachee Review, Flash Frontier, Atticus Review, Kyoto Journal, Columbia Journal, and Flash: The International Short Short Story Magazine. He is seeking a publisher for his experimental travel memoir, An American Safari: "The Bridal Veil Falls" is the sixth individual section of that manuscript to be published. Mark taught Twentieth-Century Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Toronto from 1999 to 2016. He currently teaches English studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. For more, see www.markcrimmins.com.

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