Life flows, and carries us as a river does. We set sail as all those before us. Most days we see sun and smooth waters. We fill our canoes and we raft them together, hand in hand through our brightest stretches. There are embraces and laughter, merriment and fellowship, achievement and adventure. Love buoys us.
Our flotilla numbered seven until the tempest of 1999. The year we learned the power and unpredictable nature of the river. It is an ancient power that follows timeless and undeniable laws. It flows without conscious will or reason. Without conscience or mercy.
It cannot be stopped by one man or ten men. We float away from all our upriver days despite or against our strongest will. The faces recede, yet their voices continue to dance on the surface, to eddy and gather all around us as new vistas approach.
For a few million years, the great Niagara River was triple the size it was when first viewed by man. A great seismic rift broke the very river bed with one world-changing upheaval known as The Niagara Escarpment. It’s orphan has been our neighbor all of our lives; The Mighty Mohawk River. The Saint Lawrence Seaway now takes the rest and bears it to the fertile ocean to begin its circle of life anew.
She heard the effervescent whisper of the falls before I did. But it’s so far down river, can’t we enjoy the ride for now? In denial, I had to see the mist to believe it. The night fell, and the haunting roar could not be ignored. And so we tumbled blindly and helplessly over the edge of that escarpment, just six tiny souls and their hangers-on, wide-eyed and white-knuckled beneath a million gallons of water, into the abyss.
My wife, the mother of our five grown children, left us quietly on December 14th, 2020, at the age of 64. She fought a brave battle against more than one formidable foe, and has laid her burden down after this final fight with lung disease. We had celebrated our thirty-ninth anniversary on September 11th.
And now a month hence the river continues to carry me. We band together now those closest and dearest, we fellow survivors. We will support and cherish one another through this deep and dark stretch of our river. We will reassure one another that our courses will again be calm and clear one day. We’ll laugh again.
Take care my friends, and I’ll see you soon.
One of my favorite photos of my wife. That’s the Niagara River.