In 2007 I visited Niagara Falls (from the American side).  It was a grey, damp day and it felt freezing as just a week before I was happily sunning myself in the Florida Keys.  The American town of Niagara next to the Falls is a desolate dead-end town, filled with cheap tacky shops and amusements.  Dwarfed by the bright buzzing city on the Canadian side, American Niagara was out of season, everything was closed and the streets were deserted after 9 pm.  It felt gritty, seedy and slightly unsafe, even the raccoons who dared to venture out felt like good company.

Gratuitous Sally picture due to lack of Niagara photos!
And yet, my day in Niagara was the most memorable day I spent in America.  The seedy town, the cold weather, the moody grey skies were completely irrelevant because of the sheer power of the Falls.  They were beyond incredible, there are literally no words to describe their raw wildness.  Unfortunately I have no photos from that day to I left my camera in a New York toilet a few days later (Top travel tip...when in a goes in the bag!)  

But despite the lack of photos and words, I remember that day.  My memory is more than the beauty of the Falls though, what I remember most is the feeling of being there.

Something about the natural spectacle, about the beauty and the power, temporarily changed my consciousness, my perspective on the world.  Suddenly, the past and the future and every other aspect of the present faded away so that the throbbing heartbeat of life which bound me into the Falls could be heard.  That's the day I understood why people meditate, why there are highly successful blogs based around being "present", why the Buddhists spend a lifetime seeking enlightenment.  That feeling was energising and uplifting beyond anything else I have ever experienced.  

From the moment I first rounded the corner and made the thundering of the water into a visual reality, I could not stop smiling.  The feeling of completeness, of being an inextricable part of the entire universe just by witnessing that waterfall was totally unexpected and endlessly mesmerising.  I wish I could always be that present in my daily life, wish I could permanently feel that constant embeddedness in a miraculous omnipotent world, wish I could constantly feel like this moment, right here, right now, is enough.

Niagara Falls is 100% worth the trip if you find yourself in America or Canada.  It will show you a world you probably forgot the existence of long long ago.


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