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September 14, 2006


Thanks for this, Beth. It's really interesting how one's very human encounters set against the Falls (or any famous place) can colour it a certain way into our memories. I saw the Canadian Niagara in the mid 60's with my family. It was extremely humid and hot that summer day driving down from Toronto, the day after we flew back from a holiday in Finland. So we were jet-lagged as well as hot, and it was crowded and very touristy with all the junk food and tacky tourist gift shops. (And you say it isn't as commercial as the US side?!) The falls were magnificent, but I think if it had been surrounded by wilderness it would have been a far better experience. I guess that's what Soth is portraying.

I may have stayed at that Motel when I was a kid.

Well. I invented these pebbles for just this reason :-)


beth, this is wonderful. Maybe part of an autobio? I love the way you can subtly evoke place and time as well as inner feelings.

"...an unspoken and un-acted-upon erotic tension.." between teacher and pupil, mentor and disciple - I recognise that so well, and how thrilling it was. You describe it beautifully and cinematically.

beth..The falls have a powerful effect on me too, I never tire of approaching the edge and just letting the feelings flow through me. I'm not sure what they are or what they were the last ime I was there and maybe that's what keeps me coming back. The crowd almost disappears for me as I try to get a grip on the concept of geologic time.

I love the movie. Joseph Cotton possessed by a ruinous infatuation with Marilyn Monroe which eventually picks him up as if by the scruff of the neck and tosses him over the brink. There was some term of art for the flow above the falls, a zone of no return. The falls were lit with changing colours at night, a hideous writhing abyss, ever ready to claim the desperate. All the clutter presses around the falls and gorge like a crowd crushed around a snake-charming act with one very outsized snake.

Stunning photos. Beautiful, and yet what they capture... I probably stayed in one of those motels as a kid, too. My parents for some reason left me with my grandfather at the falls while they went somewhere - maybe took my brother to see them closer? Anyway, he made the mistake of making some joke about my parents having left which set me sobbing until they came back. I remember the feel on my face of the wool coat he was wearing.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.