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尼亚加拉大瀑布

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  尼亚加拉大瀑布已成了老得没牙的旅游景点。但是,如果你从飞机上鸟瞰的话,它就成了全新的景观。你会意识到,老得没牙的并不是尼亚加拉,而是我们观赏它的方法已属陈旧。

  大部分游客总是尽可能靠近瀑布,看着水流轰鸣而下。这让人着魔,呆若木鸡。游客站在那里,被奔腾不息的激流及其强大的力量所折服。但此后你会有这样的感觉"那又怎么样?水流到了悬崖边,当然要往下淌落了。“

  但在高空你会马上看个一清二楚。你看到瀑布的一边是安大略湖,另一边是伊利湖,把这两个源连接起来的是34英里长的尼亚加拉河。当飞机稍往下飞行时,你会看到瀑布本身,沿着湖滨约有1英里宽的人行道,水从182英尺高的悬崖直冲下来,然后流入既深又窄的峡谷。你会顿悟你已看到了尼亚加拉瀑布的真面目:瀑布在运动着,而7英里长的峡谷只是瀑布在运动时冲出来的轨迹。这一事实马上使你的想法完全改变。从地面上看,水往下冲入峡谷的原因似乎是因为下面有低地。而现在你会明白,事实正好相反:瀑布才是起因,而峡谷是结果。尼亚加拉峡谷看上去像是虫在苹果上咬出来的斑痕。

  尼亚加拉瀑布与人们在山上看到的瀑布有所不同。山上看到的瀑布是一条飞下山腰的细流;有的高于尼亚加拉瀑布,也许比它美丽,但它们却没有尼亚加拉瀑布的那种气势和爆发力。尼亚加拉瀑布属于重量级——一股巨流全部从悬崖上冲泻下来。

  从上往下看到的现实景像是瀑布自身的强烈运动在凿峡谷。这是个很有意思的景观。

  今天,瀑布依然一泻千里。不过,本世纪人们开始利用它了。过去常常往下冲的大量的水,现在都流过美国和加拿大的发电站。

  在空中,你会理解美国与加拿大瀑布的实际差别。在美国境内的瀑布只占总水量的10%,而加拿大境内的瀑布占90%.加拿大境内的瀑布由于水量更大,所以它向上游移动得更快。和美国西部的大峡谷和山脉不同的是,尼亚加拉瀑布的壮观是短期的——昨天它还在此地,明天也许会消失。

  Niagara Falls has become a tired old tourist sight. But if you look it over in an airplane, it becomes something completely new. You realize that it is not tired; only our way of looking at it is tired. Most visitors go as close to the falls as possible, and watch the waters thundering down. It is fascinating, in a stupefying way. You stand there, hyptonized by the sheer force, the untiring action that goes on and on. But afterward you have a feeling - "So what, really? The water comes to the cliff and, naturally, it falls down." But at altitude you see it all at once. You see Lake Ontario on one side and Lake Erie on the other, and linking them the 34-mile Niagara River. Then, coming down lower, you see the falls themselves, along a front almost a mile wide, plunges over a 182-foot cliff and flows off through a deep, narrow gorge. And right away, with a flash of understanding, you see the main fact about the Niagara Falls. The falls are moving, the seven-mile-long gorge is merely the track the falls have made as they move along. This instantly reverses all your ideas. On the ground it seemed that the water fell because there was this low place for it to fall into the gorge. Now you see it is the other way round. The falls are the cause, and the gorge is the result. Niagara Gorge looks like the track eaten into an apple by a worm. Niagara differs from the waterfalls you find in mountains, where a thin stream of water comes down a mountainside, half-flying. Some of them are much higher than Niagara, and perhaps more beautiful, but they lack mass and cutting power. Niagara belongs to the heavyweights - where a whole solid river plunges bodily over a cliff The real sight from above is the gigantic movement of the falls themselves, digging the gorge. The falls are still moving today. However, our century has tamed it a bit. A lot of water that used to plunge down now goes through the electric power stations, both American and Canadian. Above in the air, you will understand the real difference between the American and Canadian falls. The American Falls get only about 10% of the water, while the Canadian Falls get 90%. Because the volume of water is greater, the Canadian Falls are eroding far more rapidly. Unlike the mountains and canyons of the West, Niagara is a short- time glory that was here yesterday and will be gone tomorrow.

  注释:

  1. all at once:突然。同at once(立刻)相似。只是语气上更加强调是“豁然开朗”,一下子全明白了。

  2. a flash of understanding:突然间明白。Flash是“闪电”,明白的速度像闪电一般的快,可见是很形象的说法了。

  3. much higher than:比……高多了。像much、far这样的词,后面接形容词要接比较级,而不能接原级。记住,我们常说的much better就是一个典型的例子。

  4. lack:缺少。Lack这个词作动词时,可以直接接宾语。但作名词时,就要加介词of,然后再接缺少的东西。这就是动词lack和名词lack的区别。

  5. our century has tamed it a bit:这句话就不能从字面上直接理解了。Our century实际上是指本世纪,a bit是有点的意思,引申为逐渐。这句话实际上是说本世纪人类已经开始逐渐征服他了。


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