It seems strange a whole week has passed since I last posted. It feels like a lifetime. This time last Sunday we were happily visiting my Canadian cousins, catching up on nearly thirty years of news in a few hours. It was wonderful to realise I still held a place in their memories and photos, even though their children and grandchildren have never met me. The new generations drift further apart no matter how much we try to keep the threads of family together.
It was good to be back in Canada, even if time was painfully short. It felt like home. The sun was hot, the purple and blue New England Aster were a perfect counterpoint to the vibrant yellow of the goldenrod. It seemed fitting the latin name for goldenrod is solidigo canadensis - something our host didn't know. She saw her colourful bank as merely untamed weeds, including the wild grape vines which ran down to the creek. I didn't like to mention how they might support her chest in times of trouble while the grape leaves could give her food a Grecian feel.
There is something about the smell of Ontarion grapes which is quite unique. I have never found it elsewhere. Another cousin's husband had to leave early to tend to his harvest - making ready to produce the local wines the area now specialises in. Crops and harvests have changed since I lived with them. Then the grapes went to large wineries, now those have gone and locals make their own wines. Good ones too if our tastings that afternoon were anything to go by.
It felt wrong to pass by the offer of supper and more conversation, but as the light faded we drove along the Niagara River to watch the calm waters and marvel at the beautiful homes built along the shore line.
The following day we crossed over the border again to view Niagara Falls and experience them from the Maid in the Mist - or Smurfs in the Mist as Chris christened them, because of the blue ponchos everyone was given to wear.
Journeying close to the base of the waterfalls taught me so many different things. The sound of thunder which grows louder as you sit and listen to it. The overwhelming mist which envelops you as you get closer and closer to point of droplet fall. You can see, you cannot hear, you are immersed within the waterfall and there is nothing else. I have so much more to add to my River of Life story now the Falls have shown me part of their reality.
Niagara Falls the town was so different from how I remember previous visits. I don't think it was just the beautiful flowers and impressive night lights from the skyscrapers. Maybe it was the ability to take our time and sit and watch the water for however long we wished rather than trying to do everything there was to do. It was so good to come back and find everything better!
Afterwards we wended our way south along the Niagara Gorge, stopping to admire the whirlpool, having lunch at a farm stand, then experiencing the streets of Niagara on the Lake - my first visit, made all the more special by tea in pots which tasted as tea should!
Dinner that night was at the Seneca Casino - a fantastic buffet for $18 each and $9 from the slot machines to take away with us. The final visit of the evening was to experience the Falls from the American side. Few people, a barmy night and coloured lights shining across from a Canadian tower onto the Horseshoe torrents. It was breathtaking to be so close to the fast-flowing rapids and watch each droplet cascade over the edge. A perfect end to a wonderful day.