The cool mist of the rushing water sprayed my face as I stood and enjoyed the scenic beauty. I looked ahead to see nothing but millions of gallons of water falling down a steep cliff. To my left and to my right, thousands of people crowded around the rail to see the breathtaking view. I closed my eyes to listen to the buzz of excited voices mixed in with the roar of the water. Where was I, do you ask? Standing at the top of Niagara Falls on a frosty February morning of course!
I spent that week in Niagara Falls with the company of my two cousins and their parents. We decided to stay in a room at the Embassy Suites hotel overlooking beautiful Niagara. After the 3 hour drive from my hometown in Michigan, we dropped off our bags at the hotel and took a tram down to the falls. As I stood right at the rail, I overheard this man explaining to his son about the history of the falls. He had his arms wrapped around his son as he explained how the falls did not always look like this. Many years ago, the whole thing was covered in very thick sheets of ice. “Over time, as the ice melted, the force of the water eroded the rocks away to create what you see ahead of you,” he explained. A few minutes later, he crouched down and looked his son in the eye and said, “Remember one thing for me. You’re that cliff. You pick how you want to look.”
When I first heard the man’s advice, I just thought of it as some strange advice to give to a young child. On the carried home, I was looking through the pictures I had taken on my camera. As the pictures flashed by on the screen, the man’s words seemed to echo in my head. I went into deep thought as I stared at this one certain picture of the shape of the cliff. My eyes were glued and I could not stop staring. I experienced quite an epiphany as I realized I have also been this “cliff” whether I knew it or not. The man’s advice made such a large impact on me. I am constantly changing through time as I encounter various obstacles and experience new things. Each person I meet changes me, slightly molds me from a block of clay, into the person I am this very moment.
I love hearing other people’s opinions and seeing things from a different point of view because it widens my sense of knowledge. Each person in this world has something to contribute no matter if it’s good or bad. What they have to offer definitely changes me, but I have to be the one to decide the outcome. This man’s words touched me a lot more than he ever thought it would. Living in Michigan, a trip to Niagara Falls isn’t that big of a deal for us, as we drive up there all the time. But the words I overheard this man tell his son that day made me think. I will never forget that moment. The look of pure sincerity on the man’s face as his son stared back at him with warm, innocent eyes. That very trip got me to thinking about what a great impact the smallest situations end up making. I can either be a beautiful, breathtaking waterfall or an ordinary landslide of rocks. It’s just up to me to decide what I want to become.
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