When I am away from home on a vacation it is remarkably easy for me to have very few thoughts in my head. It's a vacation for my normally over-thinking brain. Last week we went to Niagra Falls to visit the wineries, see a play and relax without much of a schedule. We stayed on the 25th floor of the Sheraton in Canada and this was the view from our room.
I sat by the floor-to-ceiling window trying to read but always distracted by the movement of the water and the spectacular view. There was a moment when I had a bit of an emotional revelation about how many times I had been to the falls. Each time was a different phase of my life.
Besides the proverbial meaning of life, I think the most difficult concept to grasp is the passage of time. There are moments when the brevity of life stuns you, and I had one of those moments as I stared at the beauty.
I stood there, on the American side, my baby sister in a stroller, holding the back of my little brother's shirt, as a worried older sister will do. My parents much younger than I am now. We inhaled the mist, cooled in the shower of droplets.
I stood there as part of a traveling musical as a teenager. The winter falls were partially frozen, the mist a cold cloud as I stood in my plaid hooded maxi-coat, my boyfriend nearby.
I stood there, on the Canadian side, my daughter's little two year-old hand in mine among the roar and vibrations of the falls. My son growing in my womb.
Then they were seven and nine years old, leaning on the railing of a boat taking us to the foot of the falls, smiles under sunglasses, wrapped in blue raincoats.
Then suddenly that phase of my life was over and I stood there with someone new in the exquisite days of new love and the whole world looked new to me. In a photo my wispy hair stood straight up in the damp breeze, his brown curls unmoving.
Last week we stood there once again among the roar and the mist and the power of the water. The rainbow still hanging over the falls, giving me hope, tears in my eyes for the knowledge that I had stood there, by those falls, at different times of my life with all of those I love the most in this world - and with tears for the bittersweet passage of time.