Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pictures of the Moment - Niagara Falls

A "Maid of the Mist." The Canadian side has gone over to Hornblower Cruises and red ponchos, which sounds jarring considering 168 years of history. But the next generation won't know any better. If only there were only boats.

Niagara Falls is a natural wonder spoiled. It's a challenge to take any picture of the falls that doesn't include a high rise or a casino, let alone a wax museum, though well-positioned mist helps.

And I dare anyone to provide a post-19th century image encompassing the entire breadth of the American or Horseshoe Falls that doesn't contain some element of human activity or a liberal use of Photoshop. But it's a gentleman's wager, because I wouldn't know how to recognize Photoshopping.

I'm a miner, so I benefit from and recognize the societal and economic benefits of reasoned resource exploitation. The falls themselves are an enormous source of clean energy. But Niagara Falls--on both sides of the border--illustrates the value of enlightened preservation of the world's natural wonders, just elsewhere. The US and Canada rushed to develop every square inch overlooking the falls before the era of take only pictures, leave only footprints. Here you can take keychains, snow globes and "souvenir water" and leave a lot of dollars.

But the power and beauty of the falls can not be entirely lost in cheap tinsel. If I squint my eyes, or catch just the light just right, I suddenly see the falls for the wonder they are.

There is treasure under this rainbow, if we can see it.