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Niagara Falls
Monday, May 20, 2024
Editorial: The pure power of Mother Nature
Tania Sapielak captured this photo of the eclipse from Read Road. SUPPLIED

It was a dull and cloudy afternoon, when day turned to night for just a few minutes.

The promise of a rare total eclipse did not come to fruition in the skies over Niagara-on-the-Lake on Monday, but the experience didn’t disappoint many skywatchers, who gathered outdoors in parks, at parties and in neighbourhoods around town to take it all in.

In several cases, fortunate photographers across NOTL were able to catch a few seconds of stunning photos and video just after the so-called totality moment. Many of them shared their images of near-totality with The Lake Report and we’re sharing them with our readers in print and on our website, NiagaraNow.com.

(Totality. Now there’s an addition to the lexicon that simply wasn’t part of almost any regular folks’ vocabulary even a few weeks ago. And a million people? Thank you, Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, but reality check time: just wishfully hyping that mega-number doesn’t make it so.)

While it was unfortunate that we in NOTL weren’t able to experience the full monty of the sun being blacked out by the moon, it certainly was a treat for those who chose to soak in the event — and relish the moment.

As 3 p.m. approached, the heavens, cloudy as they were, slowly started to slip more and more toward a darker grey. Dusk was approaching in the middle of the afternoon.

On Lake Ontario off Ryerson Park, a large motorboat thrummed eastward toward the Niagara River, perhaps trying to reach port before the light went out.

High in the sky, near where many had been told to watch for the sun, the flashing lights of a lone aircraft were visible. A special flight to view the celestial event or just another flight from A to B that happened to coincide with … totality?

For the 200 souls gathered in the park to bear witness, all that seemed to matter was being part of it all.

Nearby, the streetlights along Niagara Boulevard burst on, all but one at first. Then the lone straggler clicked on as well.

On the park grounds, people grew quiet as the gods seemed to have hit the celestial dimmer switch and daylight turned to near-total darkness. For a few minutes.

People cheered spontaneously, some remarked about how awesome it was to be part of such a unique occasion, revelling in what might have been, but for Mother Nature’s overcast intervention.

Off in the distance, the sound of fireworks erupted. A minute later, the crescent of the eclipse broke through the clouds literally for a few seconds. Then gone and back again twice more, ever briefly.

A few more shouts with each appearance and then quickly — seemingly far faster than the darkness descended — the scene began to return to daylight.

Those in the crowd began to gather lawn chairs, blankets and belongings, heading homeward, many revelling in the experience.

After all they had been part of something that apparently won’t happen again in Niagara until — wait for it — 2144. That’s 120 years from now. See you there, in spirit.

A little over an hour after the total eclipse, the heavens opened, the clouds dispersed and brilliant sunshine bathed Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The power of the universe, of Mother Nature, of something bigger than all of us was on full display.

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