Out of the three consecutive cascades of the southern Sliin, where the waters fork and merge again, two are particularly noteworthy. Unique in their nature and absurd in their appearance these wonders can be approached by descending the river eastwards. One has to engulf in the streamy and narrower passage to the right of the main fork and keep to their right again on the minor fork. As they approach the site, the first sign of disturbance in the tunnel will be the deafening sound of vast quantities of water vaporizing into thin air. And as they turn for the last time they shall see it, this vertical palisade of tormented crystal. Only it flows upwards.
This is the first and major cascade. A fantastic phenomenon of geothermal activity and unlikely geometry. As the observer gets closer to the beast. Braving the increasing heat and humidity they will discover that before playing acrobats the river drops into a shallow pit. The pit, it seems is the epicenter of high geothermal activity. A flux of hundreds of degrees is raised to the contact of the freshwater by molten material from the depths below. Exposed to this extreme temperature change a portion of the water instantly vaporizes in a continuous explosion of vapor that traps the rest of the liquid in a violent upwards stream. As the projected mix hits the cavity’s ceiling it follows the naturally carved incline whilst cooling down and dropping back into a now much higher riverbed than the one it originated in. This abrupt drop of condensing liquid forms the second cascade which as you can imagine flows in a conventional downward motion and is considerably shorter than the first one. It is nonetheless noticeable for it marks the transition of a river flowing against the ceiling to on the floor in a fine, dense rain of warm droplets.
Somewhat isolated further along the Sliin lays the third cascade the title of which can be rightfully debated. Similarly to the first one a large portion of the flow runs over a hotspot, vaporizing it high into the air. Only this time there is no ceiling to be met and the jet drops back down a bit further carried by the water’s initial momentum.
This fountain-like appearance has more in common with a geyser than a waterfall one might say if not for its width and scale. Yet the name “three cascades” has been carved in stone for so many years and in so many languages that only the Testificate could reminisce. One can only accept the flawed denomination and three wins.
Three, it seems, is a universally alluring number through species and time. A sign of stability and poetic deviance from our biological bilateral symmetry and our mono-dimensional cognitive perspective. A not-so-trivial point in fact, on the nature of consciousness on and within our planet: Good and bad, sad and happy, something and the opposite. Rarely ever does a cognitive spectrum like this extend to the second dimension, let alone the third. How could this be explained when nature itself demonstrates a deeper complexity. The state of matter depends not only on temperature but also pressure after all. Could it be that through a coincidental alignment of complexity, every decision our evolutionary ancestry has had to solve could be effectively simplified to a single variable equation? A commonality between the surface dwellers and the abyss. Maybe this is a step to be taken towards brand new ways of thinking. A multidimensional world that science has uncovered before evolution ever did.