In addition to being world famous, Niagara Falls is one of the seven natural wonders. It was formed about 12,000 years ago, when glaciers retreated north. Niagara Falls consists of two waterfalls: the Horseshoe, or Canadian, Falls (176 ft high), on the Canadian side of the river and the American Falls (182 ft high), on the United States side. The crescent-shaped Horseshoe Falls carries about nine times more water than the American waterfall.(Microsoft Encarta reference library, Copyright 2000 Microsoft Corporation)As the car approached the Horseshoe Falls, I could hear a familiar rumbling sound. My family and I drove for two hours from Toronto to get to Niagara Falls. As the car drove through the narrow snow covered street of Niagara city, I leaned back on the warm leather sit. I felt the warm sun on my face, shining through the foggy window. As we got closer, the rumblings became a thunderous roar. We parked right across the street form the Horseshoe Falls.
While my father parked the car I watched the clouds right above the falls. All the water that was going over the falls made a lot of mist, and fed the clouds day and night. The moment I got out of the car, I could feel the tiny frozen rain drops on my face raining down from the clouds. I felt the chilly winter’s breath on my face as I looked around. My eyes caught the sight of some icy tentacles sprouting out of the solid white ground, right by the edge of the rushing water. They were gleaming in the sun light, as if they belonged in a crystal chandelier store. I walked toward them entranced like a fly to a fire. They were trees covered in thick ice from all the rain. I stood beneath one, when I looked up I saw white boney fingers with long pointy nails. It felt like a crystal hand came out of the ground and wanted to pull me down into an abyss. I took my warm moist hand out of my jacket pocket to touch the smooth shiny surface of the tree. My skin froze, stuck to the opaque ice. ‘Lady Winter’ and I shared our life essence, my heat and her frozen being, in that handshake as we said hello.
The next thing I visited was an underground tunnel behind the Horseshoe Falls. Because it was winter, there were fewer visitors at the falls. There was still a small line to get into the tunnel. We packed into a small light green colored elevator. It felt sterile. As we descended into the solid rock, a voice on the crackling elevator speaker spat out trivial dates. I could feel could feel the elevator warm up from all the body heat. Then the door opened, cold air pushed in as if to hug me hello. I walked into a brightly lit tunnel with rough cut stone wall and wet concrete floors. The tunnel forked in two directions. One went behind the falls, and the other to the foot of the falls. I could taste the crisp air, as I walked toward the foot of the falls. The wet freezing air, pushed into the tunnels by the falling water, rushed passed my ears.
By this point, the sound of the water hitting the sharp rocks was deafening. When I came out of the tunnel, I was at the foot of a giant. He was on his knees holding up the lake as the water flowed over his shoulder and smashed down on his feet. On my left I saw two rainbows among the mist clouds of the falls. I could hear two birds fluttering, in the back of my mind. There were columns of ice build up all around. This time I was in a real chasm feeling breathless.
At the end of the day, we drove back home. The ride felt very short. I thought up of reasons to go back to the winter glory of the Niagara Falls. I was happy to have found a moment of my own, a moment that I could recreate. Aldous Huxley, a British author, said in his Ninth Philosopher’s Song:(The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright 1993, 1995 by Columbia University Press)
Beauty for some provides escape,
Who gain a happiness in eyeing
The gorgeous buttocks of the ape
Or Autumn sunsets exquisitely dying.
I found my escape in the beauty of the Horseshoe Falls.