Niagara shall in due time pass away

The river below the Falls is very narrow and the descent is very steep, about three-quarters of a mile below the suspension bridge. Here a sudden turn in the channel causes the waters to impinge against the Canadian shore, where they have made a deep indentation, and to rush back to the American side in a great whirl or eddy, rendered more furious by the uneven bed of the river, and the narrow space into which it contracts. "Here the most terrific commotion of any of Niagara's tumultuous demonstrations is seen. The frenzied waters form a seething vortex, the terror of the most daring navigators." Here the hissing, clashing, seething, upswirling mass of water where it strikes the rocks is whirled in swift eddies as if drawn downward by some awful river monster below. The waves produced are like the billows of the ocean, and have the same quality of loud booming tones, possessing the same wild exuberance of motion. The passionate torrent swirls in wild ecstasy around the rocks, springing aloft and tipping the waves with a silvery radiance or clashing its emerald waters in plumes of spray. One never tires gazing at the waters leaping and gliding like living creatures as they dash themselves to pieces on the rocks, or listening to the swash and gurgle of the rapid waters or the keen clash of heavier waves.

In Niagara we have a wonder that typifies the rugged grandeur, the restless, tireless energy of the Western World. In contemplating it one almost invariably thinks of New York city, that human Niagara, where the restless, crowding, surging waves of humanity are dashed against the rough crags of adversity where many are crushed and broken in body and spirit. Others are drawn into the swift stream of competition and are plunged over the precipice of financial gloom, where they seek solace in the whirlpool rapids of society, till at last with blighted hopes and ruined lives they go plunging into the abyss of despair, as if glad to escape some pursuing demon of financial disaster or more hideous monster of social vice. Only a few great and magnanimous souls show in the rainbows of a kindly beneficence that they have seen the beauty and grandeur of Niagara.

Between Whirlpool Rapids and the American Falls the water seems to rest in a quiet reach, where it grows calm and composed before it enters upon its boisterous journey at the rapids.

An electric car runs along the edge of the bluff, high above the waters of the gorge, passing the cantilever bridge, completed December, 1883, which carries a double line of rails. About one hundred yards away is another steel arch railroad bridge. "Before you reach these bridges you will see the outlet of the great tunnel through which pours a miniature Niagara, the water that has passed through the turbine wheels of the great powerhouse up the river, and which has furnished power for running factories and electric railways in Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and other neighboring cities." When one sees how the great cataract has been harnessed and made to develop thousands of horse-power for driving the industries of man, he marvels almost as much at man's ingenuity as at the Falls themselves.

The waters at the Falls plunge into an abyss about one thousand feet wide, and during the next seven miles make a descent of about one hundred and four feet through a deep ravine with perpendicular banks rising to a height of from two hundred to three hundred and fifty feet, the breadth of the river varying from two hundred and fifty to four hundred yards. It is a thrilling experience to view.

More glorious is Niagara in the garish light of a cloudless day, slipping and rushing in wildest extravagance from the rapids above. But at night the beauty is enchanting. There is a dim veiled grandeur as in viewing mountains from a great distance. While standing at Terrapin Point you are overwhelmed by the spirit of the scene around you, which seems more grand and awesome as the dusk of evening begins to throw a dark veil over the landscape; the sense of hearing is made more receptive by the lessening of the vision and you realize the awful sublimity of Niagara. The islands, like dark phantoms, loom in the dim shadows. Then in the east the moon rises mellowing and softening the beautiful scene, while all about you is the eternal roar of the waters. The vast spectral terribleness is quickly transformed into a scene of indescribable loveliness.

The name "Niagara" was given to the falls by the Iroquois Indians and means "The thunder of waters." How significant the name, for with its hundred million tons of water every hour pouring over the rocks, it sounds like the solemn roar of the sea. Ever the varied voices about you tuned to the sighing of the night and gently murmuring pine mingle and blend with the sound of the falls.

How often will memory recall those glacier-sculptured walls! How often you shall see in fancy as you once did in reality, the wonderful opulence of colors! How often, too, you shall behold those glorious curtains that seem to have fallen from the sky and hang poised before you!

How many untold centuries have its thunders reverberated among the rocks! How long have those restless waters flowed on in frenzied madness without a moment's pause! Yet will Niagara remain the same? The rate of recession is very uncertain. There can be no doubt that within the last two hundred years the aspect of the Falls has been greatly altered. Goat Island extended, up to a comparatively recent period, for another half mile northerly in a triangular prolongation; some parts have receded much over one hundred feet since 1841, others have remained more or less stationary. In June, 1850, Table Rock disappeared. Geologists tell us that the recession of the Canadian Falls by erosion is five feet in one year. Even judging it to be one foot in a year, the falls at the commencement of the Christian era were near Prospect Point; three thousand years ago it was at the upper steel arch bridge. Niagara shall in due time pass away. The eroding power that has made Niagara will perhaps be its undoing.

Nations shall rise into being and write a record of their glorious supremacy, then pass away, forgotten perhaps save by a record of their deeds or history of their decline. Nature plans not for one season, but for all time. The years as they came to the painted Iroquois will come with never-ending delight to generations yet to be. Our faith in Nature's grandeur and beauty becomes stronger as each succeeding year slips away; the kingfisher shall still watch from his perch on some pine bough the finny inhabitants below him; the chimney swifts will still fly through the spray of the falls for their bath; the flowers, if not on Goat Island, will be just as fair as those that blossomed long ago in their pristine loveliness; the stars when day is done will gleam in the velvet sky as brightly as those of far Judea. But what about Niagara? It may pass away, but not a drop of its waters will be lost. The same powers that carved Niagara are still at work creating new and more wondrous beauty as the seasons pass.

One is here reminded that our sojourn is not much more a than the wild water lapping against the rocks or the waves that beat against the rocky ledges and are gone. Yet will they never reappear? Even while we linger here the spray forms cloud fleets to float across the azure sky of June; drifting like white- sailed ships far out to sea. The resurrection of Niagara Waters!