I’ve thought about this, on and off, for most of my life. I love that roar that shakes your bones and rattles your head. It’s the sound that the Space Shuttle makes when it lifts off. It’s the sound that volcanoes make when they erupt. As one survivor of Mt St Helens described it “… like a thousand locomotives going 90 miles an hour on square wheels.” After I got to upstate NY, I eventually made my way out to Niagara Falls. I still go there every now and then. Falling water ionizes the air around it. This ionization can create a mild euphoria in humans. Sounds like the perfect place to go on a honeymoon, eh? Ok, only if you’re Lois Lane…
I don’t go to Niagara Falls just to see the wonder. I go there to hear it and feel it. It’s one of those places where the geology dominates all the surrounding area. For every wax figure that goes up on the strip, a million gallons of the Great Lakes drain down the canyon.
It’s an illusion, though. The power plants feed just enough water over the falls to make them look pretty. What we see today is only half the volume that Nature would normally provide. I still love it, though. I like standing right at the edge on the Canadian side and watching the water go over the edge. There’s a continuous nature of that spot that defeats my eyes. I wind up following it back and forth, eventually losing track of any particular spot on the edge. At this point, my sight just slides around the bowl, back and forth, not watching anything at all. That’s when the noisy tourists don’t bother me anymore, and all I can hear is that rushing water. It shakes under my feet and I have to hold onto the rail. Someone inevitably nudges me hard enough to break the spell, and that’s it. There aren’t many places where you can truly linger next to the falls.
Another place I like very much is on the tour behind the falls. Ever since humans discovered the falls, they’ve been carving tunnels behind it. Today, there is a warren of tunnels back there. Some of them end behind the falls, so you can stand just arm’s length from the rushing water. It’s a unique place, and a powerful way to feel the weight of the falls all around you. So, I like the sound of roaring water, and I’m interested in geology. Niagara Falls is a perfect place for me.
Tags: Niagara Falls