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Niagara Raises Me

It won’t leave my mind. It won’t let go of me on the car ride home, so I finally relent and close my eyes to let myself lapse into a full memory of Niagara Falls.

I gaze at a liquid dot on my coat. It is perfectly curved, and magnifies the texture of the jacket. After a moment, I turn back to my journey down the steps next to Niagara Falls with the rest of the tourists. Everything is coated in a thin layer of water that adds slipperiness and danger to the stairs. The low pitched hissing fills my ears as the waterfall’s mist hangs over us. Even with the hazy view, I see the droplets of water crashing down and the rainbow shooting out from behind the waterfall. It crosses my mind that maybe the leprechauns started the rainbow behind the waterfall so nobody could get to their pot of gold. And maybe it was the gold lurking behind the curtain of streaming water that created the magical essence the waterfall radiated of.
I watch the rivulets of water slide down my coat, leaving trails that markedly traced where the droplets had traversed. I can feel the chilly drops through the coat, but it’s more like icy fingers gently brushing me rather than the freeze of Antarctica.
We are still at the side of the waterfall and I can’t see the entire sight. Most of what’s in my vision right now is the side of the waterfall. But my limited view still brings on a wonderful spectacle of the waterfall roaring over the ledge and spraying back at us. An almost idyllic aura saturates me.
“Slow down! You’ll slip!” My mom says worriedly to me from where she is inching her way down every stair. When I glance back at her, she seems to be clutching the railing with all her strength as she slowly places one foot down, pauses, and finally has her other join the lead. I turn back to my own hands. They are pale from the cold and feel like icicles. It seems as if gripping the railing too hard would snap them. So I slide my hands gently over the frozen railing and dutifully go slower. I hear the Melodie from Orpheus and Euridice playing in my mind because everything is so still and seemingly frozen.
“Okay, everyone, we’re almost there.” The tour guide calls out to us all. I instantly ditch my music because the mood is completely changed. Everyone is thrilled to see Niagara Falls, and an excited murmuring settles down on us like the mist. I see my dad immediately go for his camera. I smile excitedly and immediately start pushing on faster, but then my mom’s warning comes back to me. I sigh and slow down again.
One foot down, next foot skip that stair and go further, repeat, repeat, repeat. My hands glide over the railing and I stare down, making sure I don’t slip. I take a moment to break my gaze off from the planks and watch the river to my right. I see a serene river that resembles a long blue scarf winding down, with threads made of tiny droplets of water. I feel a smile dancing on my lips at the sight.
When I turn back to concentrating on trying not to slip, I almost felt the droplets on the planks join little icicle hands to form a path for me. It isn’t quite as slippery as before. Finally, I reach a platform. My eyes are still glued to the wooden planks as I walk further. And bang into someone. I can tell it’s my dad because of his Canon camera bag hanging behind him despite my mom’s efforts to get him to hold it in the front, and the fact that I know his shoes.
“Be careful.” Is all he manages to say with his eyes enraptured to his camera view hole. I look up to see what he is captivated with. And I can’t look away. Niagara Falls is like a huge crystal constantly changing shapes and melding into different configurations. A gentle curve here one moment, a sharp spray there, and the joining of waterfall and lake, indenting the lake water into oblong shapes.
And the constant, thunderous pour of the millions of drops of round, crystalline jewels. Each one dripping down, each one boasting of that prized moment when it hangs in the air at the exact point. The exact point where the light shines through the liquid glass and splays in a rainbow of all the colors in the world through the other spherical side. When its shape is so clearly defined, so perfectly round on the edge where the drop rushes to meet the water, so narrowed to one fine point at the other extreme, where it seems to be yearning toward the sky that it is falling farther and farther away from. The moment when it catches everything in the world with its simple essence.
I’m blinking as the spray gets into my eyes, but I refuse to keep my eyes shut long. Not with this sight consuming my entire being and dragging me away from reality. I hear the violin part of Czárdás Largo fill my ears. I feel like I have found the most gorgeous place on earth. No, I don’t just feel it, I have found it.

When we leave, something feels strange. Yes, the entire thing was really pretty. But… I figure it out. It wasn’t the entire thing that really caught my eye. It was just those small water droplets that entranced me. So many of those precious little ones that kept falling, falling. And it was the combined force of those small ones that created the immense beauty that could consume you.
I close my eyes and smile. That was it. The drops. Because you don’t get Niagara Falls if you don’t have the water droplets. And each little one was so pretty. I hear Concerto No. 2 in G Major, 1st Mvt. in the car as I try to imagine everything all over.

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