I’ve been missing from action for a few days, on vacation in Niagara Falls, Ontario with Barb and Trevor, our grandson. As always, we had a great time in Canada. Thousands upon thousands of people were at the Falls, reveling in its wonders and partaking in the odd combination of natural wonders and manufactured entertainment, of which Niagara Falls is so famous. Among other fun activities, we boarded the famous Maid of the Mist and boated, along with hundreds of others, into the veritable jaws of the Falls. It was scary, exhilarating, and thought-provoking. What would make humans even think about getting on a boat and putting themselves so close to potential oblivion? Perhaps for the same reason people have tried to ride down the Falls inside barrels. There is a certain thrill obtained by putting oneself in danger that can’t be found any other way, except perhaps in a nightmare. I don’t really think the Maid of the Mist ride is all that dangerous, considering that the tourist rides on the water at the bottom of the Falls have been going on for over a hundred years. As far as I can discern, no one has perished during the excursions. But standing on the upper deck of the boat, looking up with awe at the roaring Falls, the spray hitting you hard in the face and the sound of the boat’s engine making you think it could be ripped from its supports at any moment, all contribute to the distinct feeling that you are an insignicant little blob of protoplasm in comparison to such a mighty source of power.
It’s probably good for the psyche to have that feeling now and again. It serves to keep things in perspective.