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Niagara Falls
Friday, June 21, 2024
Ross’s Ramblings: Mother Nature empathetically reminds NOTL she is in charge
A group huddles under the gazebo at Queen’s Royal Park to avoid the pouring rain. ROSS ROBINSON

Yes, folks, we mere mortals are just along for the ride. When Mother Nature sends us a message, find some shelter and hunker down.

On Sunday our town was hopping until the rains, thunder, lightning, hail and wind stopped us in our tracks.

Personally, I was enjoying an early afternoon nap in Queen’s Royal Park, recharging my battery after a Saturday at the 2023 Summer Jazz Festival concert in Simcoe Park.

Various genres of music were presented by superstars from Poland, Portugal and here in Canada, all for a very fair price in the natural amphitheatre that we take for granted.

The breezes through the trees, the sun warming us and the good feelings from the lucky people who found themselves in our town. Congratulations to Juliet Dunn and her team, and thanks to Mother Nature for her kindness.

It was a wonderful day to be in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The joint was jumping with various activities for various people.

And thousands of strollers licking hundreds of ice cream cones while strolling along our Queen Street sidewalks, admiring the flowers and looking at the storefronts.

Now and again, the bells chimed from various churches and the cenotaph to subtly remind us how lucky we all are.

I had enjoyed spanokopitas on Queen Street from Gyros on the Lake (pronounced Heroes on the Lake) and needed a break. Or is it spanakapita?

However, you spell it, they taste as good as any snack sold by Goody’s in the Plaka in Athens, a short walk from Syntagma Square, just under the Parthenon on the Acropolis.

Zoe and Shirley and their co-workers always serve us promptly with big smiles. And their prices are so fair.

Back now to my Sunday nap on the shore of Lake Ontario.

I was dozing, when a few light raindrops shook my shoulder. People were casually heading for the historic gazebo. Gee, so historic it was built in 1983, some 40 years ago, for the filming of the Stephen King movie “The Dead Zone.”

Happily, it was big enough to shelter about 40 of us from the impending storm. The clouds were darkening, and we could see lightning and hear thunder.

Everybody seemed to be happy to be right where they were, and anyone with an umbrella or a Maid of the Mist rain poncho was a big winner.

Little children were in strollers, sheltered from the wet weather by protective parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters.

People from all over the world were now forced by Mother Nature to gather together to stay reasonably dry.

Languages and more languages. Punjabi, Korean, French, Arabic, Persian, English, Mandarin, Spanish, Jamaican, German and more.

And not one word of complaint about the storm. Not one negative word. Many of my pals in the historic gazebo knew what real hardships were, and a rainstorm in Niagara-on-the-Lake didn’t qualify as a big deal.

Find some shelter, hunker down and enjoy the moment with family and friends.

But we were exposed to the elements, and a few sudden and piercing thunderclaps stopped us in our tracks. I wondered how many of my new friends in the historic gazebo had heard the sounds of real bombs exploding near them back home.

Yes, we are so lucky here in Canada. In aisle four of the ValuMart (I know, I know, The Independent) I occasionally hear someone commenting that life is tough, and that survival is a bit of a challenge. Yes, a loaf of bread can cost over $6, but let’s put things in perspective.

Survival is a relative term and my experience in our historic gazebo reminded me that we all have different terms of reference.

And the geese and seagulls down by Queen’s Royal Park? They found calm spots to shelter from the storm, puffed out their feathers and went into relaxation mode.

Occasionally they would flap their wings to dry off, but generally, they were impervious to the storm.

When Mother Nature had given us enough of a wet and multisensory thrill, they calmly resumed their lives, walking in the park and swimming in the lake and river: looking for food and wondering where to forage next.

My friends in the gazebo dispersed to wherever they were going. Not one negative word had been uttered and somehow we all felt a little more Canadian.

We are so fortunate to live in Canada, eh?

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