Val's Journal - October 24, 2002

Liquid courage

Confronted with the expansiveness and force of Niagara Falls I couldn’t help but see an analogy between it and Toronto: both are in perpetual motion, sprawling and rumbling like volcanoes— you’d like to throw yourself into both but you’re scared for your life.

Before our funny recreational vehicle eventually pulled up to Canada’s mega falls, we braved another long day of innocent idiocy. A gumbo of detours and pit stops was the soup de jour: a pilgrimage to WalMart for underwear and honey roasted peanuts (naturally), hourly highway pee breaks and a quick excursion to Kitchener to retrieve a missing wallet. Pierre, the bisque was delightful!

True to form, we arrived at the Il Duce of all tourist attractions in the dying light, just enough time to take a few photos and alienate ourselves from the other tourists by climbing over the guard rail. We skipped and sprinted— a hyper pack of 6-foot plus children in need of some serious supervision— to the viewing area. With a little effort, it was possible to disentangle from the multilingual throng the sound of a recorded male voice on repeat, “…don’t forget to visit the gift shop, and remember…” Isn’t nature wonderful?

The illusion of stillness and silence as the water dropped over the edge was palpable: thousands of kilos of H20 suddenly slipping over, disappearing, but with enough force to crush bones. I remember irrationally grabbing for the icy rail to steady myself as I made this observation, smiling too. The feeling in my gut: fingers poking my most tender spots.

Then Erik jumped over it— the rail. He landed 15 feet below with a wud and a hoot.

That’s the beautiful thing that infuriates me about Erik, he always manages to demonstrate that there’s plenty more marrow to slurp out of an already epic experience.
Before I knew it, Chris and I were posing for a shot on the very precipice. I could distinctly here someone saying, “what kind of imbeciles risk their lives for a picture?”

Evidently us.

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