Canada Diaries: The Witness Aug 12, 2010

She stood there old and wrinkled; her tiny frame leaning against the iron railing; her short grey hair blowing in the cool wind and she gaped in wonder at the sky as fireworks lit up the dark night and the crowd around her cheered.

She turned her face slowly to look at the huge falls cascading down with a gushing sound and turned back as yet another sparkler hit the sky and exploded in a zillion colours.

We were at the Niagara Falls. It was 10 p.m. and I looked around at the crowd.

Some guys and girls were hooting in front and some men were carrying their children on the shoulders, their hands clasped in excitement and the smiles on their faces frozen forever.

A couple of short ladies edged past the bigger, burlier men for a better view of the falls while most people were busy capturing the fireworks on their camera.

My eyes went all around and rested at this old lady who was busy capturing it all in her mind’s eye.

I looked at the colours of light changing on the waterfall from green to red and I looked at the reflection of this change on the old lady’s glasses and I wondered how much these eyes would have seen.

She must be around seventy. What would it have been to be born into a world witnessing war? Her cries as an infant must have been met with tears of joy but would have been hushed at the same time at the sound of gunfire outside.

What would it have been to be young and hip in the flower power generation and to behold its highs and lows?

What would it have been to see the world at the click of a button and now to stand here and be a spectator to nature’s fenceless beauty?

Just then an old man came trotting by and tapped on her shoulder from behind. She turned and smiled a gentle smile. He offered her the popcorn that he held in his other hand. She picked a few and they both stood there watching.

I turned to look at the massive Niagara Falls and heaved a deep sigh. That day, there was so much more that my eyes longed to see…

P.S. I was stunned into silence when I saw the Niagara Falls. Until that time, I had not given much thought to travel but that day I swore, I wanted to see everything that these eyes could witness…



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