Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Water Keeps Flowing

I watched Nik Wallenda's tightrope walk across Niagara Falls.  I found it incredibly inspiring although I'm not exactly sure yet what it inspired me to do.  I have no ambitions to do tightrope walking and now that he's done that, anything along those lines that I would do would seem anti-climactic.  So that's why I won't be trying anything like that.  Sure.

While watching the telecast, I also looked at the falls and the rock walls surrounding the gorge.  I was somewhat concerned that the shapes of the falls may be changing.  There are the two main falls, of course and I think of the American Falls as a straight line.  They are not straight now.  Whether that has changed in my lifetime or whether they never were as linear as I thought, I'd have to investigate.  But on Friday night, as I watched, I wanted efforts to be made to halt the changing landscape at Niagara Falls.  I wanted everything to stay as it is or perhaps even be somewhat remediated so it could look like it did a few years ago.  At some point, though I realized that's a ridiculous desire.

Niagara Falls would not look as it does were it not for the powerful water wearing away at the rock for periods of time that, even if scientists tried to explain, are difficult to comprehend.  Alongside the drive from Queenston into Niagara Falls, Canada, the river is a long way down and the gorge is wide. I would rather not look (also a reason I don't plan to walk tightropes).  Somehow, the water has carved out so much rock and left what we see today.  The power of the water has provided electricity for many years and another power plant is being built.   The humidity from the falls may help the beautiful flowers nearby grow so well.  If it were not for the water and its power, Niagara Falls would not be.  Water has given it to us.

The water keeps flowing down the Niagara River and over the falls.  It will keep doing so.  (I remember a time in my childhood when it was artificially stopped.  I don't know why and I don't know for how long that would be sustainable.  Certainly, the tourist industry wouldn't like it for too long.)  It will keep changing the landscape because, with its power, it can.

I suppose we have those moments where we forget our place in time and think that we can keep everything as it is right now, as if we will somehow be around forever to enjoy them.  Things don't work that way.  I have a few snapshots in my mind of what Niagara Falls looks like.  So do many other people but even if we could put them all together, we would have only a very, very small piece of the history of Niagara Falls.  We can enjoy the falls but we can't ask them or anything else, really, to stay the same.  Accepting this, we can let go of energy we use to hold back change and harness it so that in the relatively brief time we have here, we can make a difference, we can contribute to life in our ways.  We won't carve out natural falls (and many of us won't go on tightropes) but what we can do has beauty too.  And it is powerful.


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