Archive for the ‘Western New York’ Category

I ride the bus across the state – from Buffalo to New York City. From one zone into another. The ride is long and i do not see, do not feel the energies of the places i am passing by. On the interstate, we stop at one of the rest stations along the way, the anonymous places – just the fast food chains differ. From flat lands to rolling hills, all brown beneath the grey sky, trees all naked ready for the snows and cold that will come. But i enter into my own zone – cut off from the world around, a zone of sleep and of my mind chattering endlessly.

Is it the bus? It is a double decker bus – a megabus – that zooms along the thruway. I look at the scenery below and enter my thoughts. It is a quiet bus and i have a seat to myself. Is it the quiet the helps draw me in – for busses, cars, train and other vehicles serve to insulate us from the environment around. I hear the sounds of the rubber on pavement, the occasional cell phone ringing, but i do not hear what is outside and around. The temperature is, thankfully, controlled, i do not feel the elements outside, the breeze, the coolness of the fall day – do not know how humid or dry it is. There are few smells on the bus – i am a long way from the toilet, and there is only a brief period of McDonalds smells after the break – but i do not smell the fields, the trees, the exhaust of the others vehicles as we wait in traffic coming into the city. The place is the bus itself rather than any geography we may pass through – thus we go from destination to destination unaware of what lay between. Traffic on the road perhaps – delays. The bus is a container that holds us in and cuts us off.

And i think again how we create our environment and can modify it to suit. I do not carry an ipod or any other soundscape with me – i hum to myself inside, just inside and not to those around. And how the vehicles cut us off from the world around. Inside we are cut off from each other too – do not connect, be too loud, or stare. Enter into our personal zones as we pass through place.

We drive into the city, and i am in another zone – not only physical but within myself. I spend the 6 hours or so asleep, then meditating, then the voices inside begin to talk, the chatter in my mind – that place inside that is first at peace, then restless and sad. And i have left behind the energy of where i was, or do i continue to carry it inside?

I am now in a new place for a moment, but it is still i that is here. Different thoughts emerge in this place – memories, or lingerings of energy, or a realization of what was mine and what was there that did not belong to me. The subway travels beneath the streets and the same rules apply – do not connect – the subway car is the place and not the city.

The streets here have pedestrian life, arrays of fruit outside stores, restaurants, Rite-Aids and Starbucks galore – i walk the streets but now am in the place in myself.

Tomorrow i get on a plane – another container – one that flies through space and travels above place – an immediate transfer from one zone to another. And what will the zone be withing?

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Why is it that i can’t seem to write about the place i came back to, perhaps came to stay, the very city where i was born and the place where i will leave once again- Buffalo, New York. My energy has been removed from this town, as has the energy of so many for so long. As i write this i feel hollowed out like the city itself, and i wonder just how much has the place of my birth had an impact on me.

I ride into town along the expressways, roads that guide the traffic along and through, not really taking in what is there with the limited exits and fast motion that just passes by. As we get closer, the trees turn to town, the core with its tall buildings visible ahead We pass so empty factories and broken down homes – homes with patched or partially missing roofs and boarded up windows, home that i still notice, but that the driver, who passes this scene daily no longer sees.

As we drive into the center of town in the early morning,  passing broken down buildings on empty streets my heart sinks. We park in one of the many cheap parking lots with bumpy pavement that are plentiful in the area. We slowly jaywalk across the streets. She enters one of the few new office buildings and i make my way to Main Street, onto the block by the stop called fountain plaza – banking centers on a single block, with modern towers and the historic gold dome of the M&T bank – in car-free zone where the metro runs. But if you walk but a block down the street, stores stand empty, with for rent and sale signs on ornate historic low rises. And the street stands empty, not just now in the early morning, but throughout the day – a few folk out at lunch and others with no where else to go.

And i feel myself  sinking and i know it is not just the rain or the clouds above. There is  a heaviness in the air as too many poor shuffle about, some teens on the way to school, a few office workers with sallow faces all who do not seem notice the emptiness and decay that surrounds. I stop for a coffee to get out of the rain, Spot Coffee an oasis of sorts with couches and chairs for lounging, dark roast coffee, and wifi which i do not use.  I glance across the street where a new resto sits, bars, and a Starbucks and i know that all is not dead.  I remember other walks, up Delaware Avenue past the mansions and churches that line the boulevard, past  fountains in roundabouts that do not flow, but that once had different colours of water streaming from lions’ mouths,  by the art deco city hall, I  think of the glory that Buffalo must once have been, the city of my mother’s youth and that of my grandmother.

I cannot but feel how grand the city must once have once upon a time as i look at the remnants of a bygone era, of  a glorious age and a brighter moment in time when Buffalo teemed with life, dreams and prosperity. In 1900 Buffalo was a booming place – the 8th largest city in the country and its glory years continued up through the 1950s when it had a population of 580,000. It was also a center of  industry with the largest grain-milling center in the country, and the home of the largest steel-making operation in the world  and while you can still smell the Cheerios from general mills at times, the landscape is littered with factories that no longer produce and warehouses that sit empty and thankfully black smoke no longer blows in the distance. Buffalo once had more millionaires per capita,  and now it has the nations third highest poverty rate for a city of over 250,000. While the mansions, the parks, the galleries and the architecture speak to the riches, the posture of so many and the proliferation of dollar stores speak to the poverty that remains.

  At one time it a major transportation hub. It was the nation’s largest inland port and its history tied up with that of the Erie Canal.  After the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, transportation on the canal declined and so did the city.  It was a major railway hub, and for a while the second biggest rail center. But when i arrived on my cross-country journey by train two months ago, i came into a small building out in the suburbs, a single waiting room beside the tracks, in the middle of nowhere from what the eye could see. And the energy has left the city, moving out and away. My family left when i was a young child in 1970 , at the beginning of a decade that saw the city lose over 100,000 people. The population in 2000 was well below that of 1900.

 It has been years since the decline began and ended, and while there is some hope, i feel that i must leave, for i feel the loss. I spend my days out in the country, where all moves slowly and is settled and still, near the village of East Aurora where there is more life. It lays beyond the suburbs where most people live, with malls, thruways, even some new subdivisions and most of the middle class that remains.  The center is hollowed out like a donut. While the suburbs could be “anywhere USA”  in some ways i feel that i am in a time warp. At times  it feels like the 1970s or 1950s of something.  A feeling that little new has come in, and what there is seeps in slowly.

As i write this i feel that i am not being fair.  “It is coming back” i hear them say, but i heard that last time i spent any period of time here almost 20 years ago. While a few buildings are new, others have fallen under, and i do not feel that much of a difference. Parts of the west side are grand, the Elmwood Strip is a vital place and has been ranked one of the best neighborhoods by some magazines, a new art gallery was opened a year ago, but somehow i feel that they are pockets – pockets of light – the music scene, research and more. And you can live here and make your way through those zones of light. But even near downtown, near Allentown – a patchwork of galleries, restos, nice homes and decay, in the zones where poverty abounds, you will see flowers or more recently, Halloween decorations on simple homes that sit beside the abandoned boarded up houses, showing signs of life and of hope. Buffalo calls itself  the  “a city of good neighbors” and it is a friendly place with people who help and care. 

Will Buffalo come back – i do not know. It cannot be what it was, for that was a bygone era. Maybe the outward flow has stopped. Although the tide is no longer going out, it is not coming in, for the slack tide endures, a stability of sorts. How long can it last, before it starts to flow again, and in what direction will it go. But even in the slack tide, there is life and motion.  But once again feel like i am but treading water slowly drifting out to sea and do not have the energy to push the tide back in. Perhaps i should turn my eyes away from the reminders of the past, and focus on what light there is here and now.

 But I turn again to look at the ruins, the falling down buildings with grand facades. I think of the ruins that i have travelled miles just to see  – the Mayan ruins of Mexico, the indian ruins of the Southwest, and the remnants of castles and monasteries in Ireland and those around the globe that i wish to visit. Why is it that so many of us seek out ruins, memories of past civilizations, travel to them and relish in them while at the same turn a blind eye to, and run away from, ruins in out midst. 

I think of the rise and decline of civilizations the world over, and life that emerges from the ruins, the places which endure and are continuously built upon, and others that come back after periods of decline not as flashy and grand as in its heyday, but life goes on. And i remember that the ruins stood for years before they were rediscovered and that by visiting them and restoring them we give them life and energy once again.

But Buffalo will not empty out. Buffalo is a city of resilience, that is what  people pride themselves on. Maybe the stagnation i feel is really a settled life. But i cannot help but ask what are we settling for as i  remember the poor indigenous people selling trinkets outside the rebuilt “ruins” .

 While part of my energy lingered here, it no longer does.  So  i join those who removed their energy from this place.  Just as a place cannot go back to a previous time  neither can I.  Although i lived my early childhood on the tails of its glories, it has been almost a lifetime since it was home.  It was not a time to which i belonged, nor is it one that i truly yearn for. Buffalo was an industrial city with a focus on material gain – that of a time and of a nation. While there was and is much more, spirit, culture and love, that was at its core. I feel that way of life with the focus on the consumption of things, that which transcends much of America and the world is in decline and seeps away.

And all is change, it rises, sinks and ebbs. And that is the way of life, it has been and will continue to be. I’ll stop treading water and swim out to see.  And i will continue to flow as will Buffalo.

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The air hangs heavy today though the sky is blue. The day is warm, too warm for the season, for a November day.  I rake the last of the now krinkled brown leaves beneath barren  trees and cut down the frost hit plants for their winter sleep. But it feels like summer of something. The flies and wasps have awakened once again but i feel stifled. The air has a  heaviness to it, cloying upon my brain and my being. There is a sickness of sorts to it, but i do not know why and cannot explain it.

I walk the dogs along the road and feel that i should rejoice. How blessed are we. It’s a beautiful day. The sun is out. A late “indian summer” is upon us – a brief reprieve  – a break from the rains and the cloudy skies that have held us in for so long, so nice after the morning frosts that have blanketed the grass so it crunches beneath your feet, and the hails that pelted down just a few days ago, briefly covering the ground with white pellets, and the winds have abated. The winds that blew through the other day have left something behind. But still, i feel a sickness of sorts in the air.

 I feel that i must check my perceptions – am i wrong, do others feel the way that i do. Is it just me who does not understand? The temperature reads over 60 degrees. The Air Quality Index says all is fine, we are in the healthy zone. Do i discount my perceptions and go along with the common consensus? But i cannot discount the fog that rose above the pond at sunrise and hung along the road for several hours, nor the brown twinge to the haze as i looked down to where it was beginning to fade. I cannot ignore the cloying that i felt as i walked along, and the heaviness that descends. Nor should i try to.  I am around those who when you ask if  is it warm or cold outside after they have stepped inside, look at the thermometer in order to read me  the answer. But what if is all is an illusion, a mass delusion and everyone is pretending, for we have been told it is a perfect day. What is the reality?

But maybe my general perceptions of the place  guide my interpretations of the moment – and i know that is true. The sluggishness that i have felt since i arrived, is now guiding me, and defining my reality. And how much of it is just me, the energies i bring in and how much of it is the here and now, what comes into me. Though the air differs each day, and throughout the day, it generally has a qualitatively different feel than the dry mountain air i breathed for months before i came here, or the thick ocean air i swam in before that.  And i know that the air is life and breath is life. Layers upon layers of it. Invisible. We cannot hold it in our hands or in ourselves, in and out, in and out, take a deep breath, can’t hold it too long. It circulates through us and the world and by it we are all connected.

 What is  carried on the wind, what is blown through and away? What is cleansed and what is sullied? What is it that gathers here and lingers in place?  While the air circulates the planet, it differs, not only from moment to moment but from place to place. Each breath we take contains parts of the breath of so many others – humans, animals, the respiration of plants – and the exhaust of so many man-made things – car exhaust, the smells and particles of industry, agriculture, forestry and so much more. Still the air gathers, at times hangs over and stagnates, other times just blows through, a force of emotions and feelings upon the wind. Where has it been before, and before, and before? How long did it spend there, and what joined it, and where will it go. I want to breathe in, but do not, it cloys and i am resisting life.

I wrote this yesterday, and today the air has changed, still but is still unstable. A cool refreshing breeze this morning, but by afternoon, something electric came in – a sense of unease, a feeling that something is about to happen, a shift to come. The glow of the sun is seen through a thin bank of clouds or something, The place is the same, much is the same, but it differs. Something has been carried in, for a moment, something lingers on for a while. The place that i am as i walk out the door won’t be exactly the same as it was when i did this morning. but then again neither will I. I will breathe the air, in and out, circulate the life force – and with each breath i inhale i am ever so slightly altered, and by each breath i exhale, i modify the collective life force. The air inside is stale, and i do not know what it will be as i walk out the door.

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Halloween approaches and tales of ghosts and ghouls and spirits haunting in the night abound. I decide to visit a cemetary – a place where the spirits of the dead are bound to be found.

I go to Forest Lawn Cemetary, Buffalo’s  largest and finest,  259 acres in the centre of the city to see energies i could find.  It is billed as “one of America’s premier historic cemetaries” dating back to 1849. It is where many prominent people have been “laid to rest”. According to the literature there is a permanent population of  155,000 “residents”  here so i am sure spirits must abound.

But as i walk the grounds, i do not find them – the place is not spooky at all. It seems more like a park with meandering roads, streams and ponds, lawns of grass and stone, and art abounds. I feel both alive and at peace, and i wonder if i am just not listening – if my sense of perception has been warped.

But as i stroll on, i come back to the moment and experience what is there. I realize that the place was created as much for the living as for the dead.  It is a place that welcomes visitors, including those who have come not to remember anyone in particular, but who have come to live. I encounter joggers in pairs and alone, two women walking through enjoying the day – faces smiling and bright. There are benches by lakes where ducks swim by, lawns under trees, and an urban “forest” of sorts. The place is a sculpture garden filled with  not only gravestones and tombs, but with statues, obelisks and more.

I feel that as in nature, where new life springs from the death and decay of the old,  the remains of the dead help keep the place tended and alive. It is an urban oasis, safe from development and the noise and distractions outside. A  gate  surrounds to protect the dead from the living. The plots are well-tended and the lawns are mowed with no overgrown weeds. There is more life here than in some outside areas i passed through with broken down buildings, boarded up windows and souls who shuffle through – the living dead.

And it that it. This is not the place where the residents lived and died, but instead it is where they have been “layed to rest” and to be remembered by their loved ones and the passersby. Any energies that they left behind are most likely elsewhere, in the homes and communities where they lived. I read the stones to remember the dead, and see that most have lived to an older age, a life fulfilled. Would i feel differently if i passed a multitude of graves of children, the war dead or those who left this world in an epidemic or a large disaster – who were forced away before their time?

Perhaps it was the day – a splendid fall day with trees in bright colours dropping leaves, a blue sky above and a touch of warm breeze. The kind of day where you just have to smile.  Would i feel the same if i came on a cold rainy November day where naked trees stood under a leaden sky, on a day where the cemetary looked like the graveyards in horror films and in our imagination.

I stroll on to find the gardens of “the ten commandments”, of “the eternal light” and of “the psalms”  but never make my way there. I come upon some harsh square buildings that jar the eyes, that seem so out-of-place, like the 1960s concrete lowrises in an old historic neighbourhood. I approach one of the “condos for the dead” and glance at the inside which reminds me of a newer office building. The door is open and i enter. The air is still, stagnant and the angles are harsh, corridors lined with crypts for the dead. Although the “serenity muzak” plays, a few flowers dot the fronts of the stacked  crypts and chairs look out through a wall of glass upon the lawn, i feel off kilter, like i must get out. Get out now. It is because many inside are more recently deceased and energies have not yet left their bodies? are more cremated here? it is because it reminds me of an office? That there are so many residents in this apartment like setting? Is it the lack of airflow, of life, for the place seems dead.  That is it – the place feels Dead. I step outside, into the light and  read the name upon the building – the “Serenity Mausoleum”.

I walk along the curving roads, beneath the trees, and by the creek, back to the areas where both life and art play among the dead. Slowly i shake off that feeling and feel content and at peace. At peace in the resting place of the dead.

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I wander about Goat Island, and the Three Sisters, chunks of land that rise from the Niagara River, and stand seemingly solid amongst the rush of water between the Horseshoe and the American falls. Here I feel alive, bathing in the energy of the place. There is a bounce to my step, a glimmer in my eyes and a smile upon my face. The raw energy of the falls enlivens me and it is more than just the negative ions in the air that do so. I know there is something special about this place, something deep and spiritual, a power greater than us all. Here I am hit by that sense of knowing, connecting with that universal life force.

Momentum builds up above the falls – the flow of water in the rapids is intense, and the air around becomes more dense – dark squiggles surround as the water from four of the great lakes is about to fall over a cliff, crescending down through the layers of time. From the stasis and stillness of the great lakes, the water runs through a narrow river, a channel, momentum increases, circles, crashes and stills, then whirls and jumps as it heads for the last lake and down another river on its journey out to sea. The energy is alive and rapid on this phase of its journey – a journey from the inside of a continent, where it appears still, enclosed and contained by land, to a joining in the sea of life, that basin of water that surround the lands and is in perpetual motion. The mist that rises above and permeates the air is the soaring of the greatest inland waters combined.

The Falls are not only the water that rushes over, but the land that lay around and beneath. I sit on one of the Three Sisters and feel the power of the molted deep grey rock that i sit upon, and i become more grounded. I feel the history in the rocks, the energy that has built up slowly over time and is being revealed. The land – the denser energy form – is molded and sculpted over time by the power of water – a lighter, vibrating active energy, and by the eons of time. The land was forming and transforming long before the falls existed and will continue to transform long after they pass through.

As the water rushes through it exposes the layers of time visible in the gorge below – the layers of life deposited over millions of years, the remains of the life that once teamed upon the earth and in the oceans and that are now compacted into stone. Lockport Dolostone, Rochester shale, limestone, fossils, sandstone – layers we name and analyse or do not notice at all. The layering reveals great changes in the history of the planet, ages and stages of the earth, and deep fundamental transformations; changes that we can only begin to imagine. The falls themselves are a legacy of the last ice age, and the contours of the land were formed by frozen water in motion.
And i wonder, what memories do the stones hold? If our consciousness affects the world (or as some say even makes it) then what trailings of emotion, thought and being have the previous life forms left behind?
The changes are still at play. The falls were once seven miles or so downstream and 700 years ago the American falls did not exist – they were one great horseshoe. They continue to move upstream, to shift for the land is in motion too. You cannot stop the flow of life, for although you may try, it cuts through the layers that have been built up, exposing them and transforming them – be they layers of stone or layers of our mind. And it makes me think of what will be in the layers formed by our remains. What deposits do we make as we travel though this space?
If nothing else, the falls show that nothing is permanent. The place i see today will be different tomorrow as it was different yesterday. Since places are shifting and temporary how can we define them except in the now? The now is but a moment in the flow in time.
I bring myself back to the present. I open my ears and hear the rush of water, the sounds of gulls and the occasional voices in the background. I open my eyes and see the rush of water, the vibrant oranges and yellows floating on branches beneath the leaden sky, the squirrel that prances amongst the fallen leaves and the rock formations. I open my heart and feel the power of the water and the power of the earth. For a moment I consciously join in this dance of life. I wish to stay here, on the second of the three sisters, and bathe in the energy of the place. I want to sleep beneath the trees on the ground, beside the rapids, becoming simultaneously vitalized and calmed.
But something presses me on, out of this sacred zone to the rest of the area that we call The Falls. But I wish to stay, to feed, to gorge on the spirit here, although i am satiated for now. I should not consume more than my fill, more than i can share and feed back to the circle of life. But i am tempted, tempted to stay and harness this power for myself, for my personal glory. And i know that i am not the only one who feels this pull.
In this place the energy reaches its peak, an energy that no visitor, – from the Native people who travelled here to the first Europeans who saw it, to the tourists or yesterday and today – can ignore. I see smiles lighting up faces – smiles and joy that feed positive energy back to the place. But there are also other vibrations at play – thoughts and activities that take away from the spirit of this place, that at times seek to overwhelm it.
I turn my eyes towards the falls, following the direction of the current and see the effects of these other energies. Outside energies that have become part of the place – energies that were brought in from afar, and decided to stay – for a while. I look across to the Canadian side to where tall buildings rise above the land – hotels, casinos, and amusements to dull the mind, and i ask, what have we done to the glory? The airflow changed when the structure rose up and the falls from that side are now shrouded in mist. And i remember my journey here past decaying factories and hollowed out city centres. Another sense of place emerges – one that is dulling and harms the spirit.

So many questions spring to mind. What is it about the raw power of this place that makes people want to feed on it? To hoard it in and harness it for ourselves? To transform it and control it and use it for their own ends? And in seeking to transform it, what effects to we have? Do we diminish the energy? enhance it? Warp its sense of being? To what extent can we transform it, and how much does it transform us. How do we value it? For what ends is this power used? 

The actions of those who sought and seek to profit from the power of the falls have dulled the energy in their zones. There are creators and maintainers of the “tourist trade” who build attractions and amusements from thrill seeking rides to today’s casinos and line the banks with garish hotels, with an eye to profit and blinders to the glory. There are those who immediately sought to harness the energy for industrial ends, building power plants and factories that line the banks, creating a heavy industrial “oasis” permitted and enhanced by the cheap energy from the falls. As i meander away from the island, I feel my spirit sink.

The energy of the falls is used to light much of the eastern seaboard, and thus its power is spread and diffuse. As we turn on the lights do we remember and are we thankful to the source from which it came. And if we do not, do we push the energy away from the falls. The flow of the falls themselves is controlled by the power plants and international agreements – much of the water is diverted for electricity for the power plants that fuel our lives. It flows the strongest in the summer day lights hours, and more is diverted in non-peak tourist times. How would the power of the falls affect us if we felt its full force? What we experience today is mediated, the power harnessed for other ends, for industry, for a softer life, for the artificial lights that illuminate the night. But how would we feel if we bathed in its glory and how would our internal lights glow? And how do we feel when we stand under the massive power lines that carry this generated power along its way?

The lights that shine from the amusement places seek to divert our attention from the falls. The goal not to illuminate the”light” that shines from within but to make a profit, and i feel it sucking, as it seeks to suck the dollars from my pocket. As a child i always wanted to visit the haunted houses and arcades that fanned Lundys Lane on the Canadian side, and now i want to cover my eyes and shrink from it. And the goods sold, the tourist trinkets to help create memories, the items that say, hey, i was there create another experience all together.  Like the overpriced candies, ice cream and sodas that are sold along the streets and boardwalks, they pull the energy from me, temporary highs, but ones that leave you to crash, and come crawling back for more. And i feel it sinking, sinking, the empty Rainbow mall and storefront, decaying cheap motels, and a lack of life. 

And how much garbage can we dump into a place – taking the light and leaving our discards behind. I think of Love Canal as i pass the decaying factories and current chemical plants and wonder how long this contamination will linger. Once factories lined the gorge, the “tailrace” of colourful waterfalls of waste that gushed out of the factories was once a major attraction that came second to the falls themselves.

Mother Nature, the universal force struck back with storms and rock slides that destroyed a major power plant back in ’56 (in recent times considering the history in the stones). Was she telling us that we could not just take without honouring her. The industries have now gone, the remaining ruins barely visible, the town hollowed out, with vacant boarded up homes, empty shells of buildings and people, and high crime.  The energy in these places is heavy and sad now, yet life flows on and away.

And we rebuild. A newer power plant sits further down the gorge. Shiny casinos built to replace the dying industries provide some glitz and bring in busloads of people who sit in front of machines in a trance, eyes glazed, hoping, praying for that magical moment where they will strike it big. Attention diverted from the falls to the machines and the chance to win some money. Despite the shine, there is a heavy gloom.

Yes there is also life renewed. Along the gorge on the American side past the Rainbow Bridge where factories once stood, there are now trails and parkland. Parks line both sides of the gorge with paths for walking and benches for sitting, resting and contemplating. Preservation efforts continue, and if it were not for those of the past, those which created the parks, and the gardens, those which came from those who valued the falls for themselves and sought to maintain them, we might have decay all around. It is thanks to the consciousness of others who valued the natural energy of the place that i was able to sit on Goat Island and bask in the universal life force. it is and was that energy that feeds joy to a place. As i remember this, my spirit soars, and i and my writing feel less heavy.

I ask myself, how do we define place – just what do we mean when we say Niagara Falls? What is this place in our minds? How far does a place exist and what are its zones?   Where do the borders begin and end – and not just the international border that divides the falls and the gorge. Borders are felt rather than defined by lines on a map. And how does our location determine how we define a larger place and how does our definition of the larger place determine our location within it? What energies do we brings to a place and how much do we strip away?
What to we look at and what do we turn away from?  What permeates into our minds and our visions though we would rather it not be there? What do we seek out and focus upon?  Which vision is “real”? That of a powerful spiritual place, or that which shows the excesses of our civilization in decay.  What is the dance between the two, and how long can they exist side by side. Can I write about the falls without writing about the decay that surrounds? Can i see the kernal of light amongst the decay and the garish coverings?  How does our gaze not only affect our experience of place, but also the place itself?
But the energy of the falls is strong, and while that has been its downfall in recent times as people try to strip it away, it is also its strength. It is the reason why we keep on flocking to it, to feel the lifeforce gathered so strongly. Can we weaken it and destroy it all together, or do we need to have faith that it will endure, that it is stronger than us? I imagine the life force flowing, cutting through the denser heavier places on its journey out to see, and the power and beauty of that journey and i smile and have faith.

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