Text and nature at Niagara Falls

We got into the car last week and drove off and kept driving until we reached the Niagara Falls. Took about ten hours but never mind. We were rewarded for enduring the heat and the scorching sun:



The rising mists and the deafening roar announced the grandeur of the waters . Tourists clicked away at their cameras thronging at the metal railings along the falls.

No amount of clicking, I thought, could do justice to the experience.

Nor can any measure of description I may try here.

Text and picture can, at best, be substitutes.

People, on the other hand, are easier to trace, for me anyway. So I tried to collect the words scattered around the Niagara Falls ( the State Park on the USA side and the  gateway on the Canadian side) and wondered what they said about the people who came here.

I’m bottledworder, after all!

There was water, water, everywhere. So someone had thought of this and someone else would be reading this too late!

There was a bridge across the bounding water that was about to take a sudden leap. But if you couldn’t read, what would you be thinking?

On the other hand,  if you could only read but couldn’t make out pictures, what would you do when you saw this object next to a bench on the paved road to Goat Island once you crossed the bridge?

In front of the ticket counter to the “Cave of the Winds,” folks would be taking pictures home that showed how they’d braved the falls. Little did they know that a photographer was photographing the photographer 🙂

The “Cave of the Winds” would let you enter steps with wooden barricades that took you right up to the Bridalveil Falls so you could let the water lash on your face.

Compared to the force of the waters we were about to face on the “Hurricane Deck” there, this bear looked really benign at the entrance:

But clearly, some people took Mr. Bear too seriously:

We looked like members of an ancient cult wearing yellow ponchos as we climbed the steps covered with green seaweed:

but only after babies had parked their cars at the entrance (who else would try to park here?):

You couldn’t have found this anywhere else either:

The diversity of human character, I thought, as I saw the following signs all over the US side of the Horseshoe Falls:

There were those who would brave the falls at the “Cave of the Winds” in front of an oil painting. And then there were those who would need to be warned with the following sign in front of the gigantic falls also on the Canadian side:

Perhaps this is what hubris means. Not knowing that you’re an ant no matter how brave:

And then, faced with the sheer power and grandeur of nature, there were those who  felt threatened perhaps and wanted to live forever through their writing (by writing their everlasting love over the Horseshoe falls?):

Authorities clearly wanted to improve upon nature even on a full-moon night:

That’s the instinct to endure, I guess!

But at the Niagara, nature still steals the show.

Big nature

and small

We like to possess. We like to control. We like to improve. But sometimes, we work with nature:

Next to the original arch entrance to the world’s first hydroelectric power plant. The arch was re-erected later.

Though we’re not always in control:

The Niagara Falls was, without a doubt, the uncontested celebrity here.

But what about the tiny flowers that grew beside it, I thought, when I bent down from the side.

What about us?

For no reason, Wordsworth’s Lucy came back to me:

She dwelt among the untrodden ways	
  Beside the springs of Dove;	        30
A maid whom there were none to praise,	
  And very few to love.	

A violet by a mossy stone	
  Half-hidden from the eye!	
—Fair as a star, when only one	        35
  Is shining in the sky.	

She lived unknown, and few could know	
  When Lucy ceased to be;	
But she is in her grave, and, O!	
  The difference to me!	        40

If the Niagara stopped, everyone would notice.

What about each of us?

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29 thoughts on “Text and nature at Niagara Falls”

  1. I love Niagara Falls! What’s with the vast difference between the towns on the Canadian and American sides? The Canadian side is full of life. The American side … dead … though we found a couple of OK spots and a nice bed and breakfast.

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  2. Went to Niagara couple of years ago and my over-riding impression is that of the noise! And you can take away those wonderful photos, but not that incredible din!

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  3. The signs urging people to stay off the fences are unfortunately necessary and since many peoople who visit Niagara Falls don’t speak English, they need to be graphic. Last year a young tourist climbed on the fence (on the Canadian side) and fell to her death. The river may appear shallow above the falls but it is fast-flowing and she went over the falls.

    Lovely photos of the area.

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  4. Wonderful post, thank you,the exhilarating beauty and grandeur of nature,, quirky human nature, crassness and fun, and then that lovely poem I’d forgotten. Such pathos. So we had it all in this one post

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  5. The pictures are beautiful and I love all of the details of it, like the signs which tell you not to climb over the fence and you have to be this big to enter it. I’m hoping to go there with my husband who has been there before and loved it.

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  6. What an amazing post. And yes, truly stunning pictures.

    I’ve been to NIagara Falls on the Canadian side of the border, and I agree, it is totally worth the drive, regarless how long it took us to get there.

    For us it was a cross-country trip, and the Falls were not the only focal point of our travels, but again, truly worth the detour that got us there.

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  7. I’ve been there, just on the US side. I like the detail of the fence on the second ‘don’t climb over the fence’ sign. Like they were thinking they need to picture the fence they were going to put the sign on, or else it wouldn’t mean what it said. 🙂

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