As I noted last week, Henry and I took a month-long road trip earlier this summer. While we had the basic trajectory of the trip outlined, we made a number of additional decisions along the way—letting the Spirit guide our journey. Niagara Falls was one of our impromptu stops, and the roar of its flowing water provided me with additional material to extend my current blog series on this essential element.
Niagara Falls is a noisy place. The sound of cascading water is impossible to miss. It forms a bass note to the overall experience and reaches much farther into the surrounding landscape than the cloud of misty spray which hovers over the falls themselves.
The Niagara River forms the international boundary between the US and Canada in this area, including part of the Falls. We stayed on the American side of the Niagara River and thus didn’t catch the most spectacular views of the Falls, which surge over two sections of cliffs, including off a mid-river island on the American side. The impact was still impressive, and the excited energy of hundreds of tourists was invigorating.
While the Falls were majestic and their roar mighty, my attention kept returning to the swift-flowing river as it swept inexorably toward those cliffs. The powerful, free-flowing water has impacted the surrounding area in various ways over the decades. Old fortifications reveal a turbulent political past. Nikola Tesla instigated the construction of a hydroelectric generator, which opened in 1896 and eventually powered both Buffalo and New York City. Canadians have erected a modern amusement park and casino on their side to further entertain visitors. In so many ways, this mighty cascade of waters has drawn people to its banks.
Yet there are the inherent dangers in such a mighty flow of water. I’ve been watching and praying over the devastating impact of river-borne floodwaters in Vermont earlier this month. A friend who lives there told me that she and her family members’ homes have escaped inundation, but one son’s house was completely surrounded by water. As the climate crisis continues sweeping inexorably across this planet, floods and fires are reshaping the ground upon which we all walk and the air we all must breathe.
So many of us are drawn to the roar of water and enjoy the spectacle. Yet it doesn’t take much for “spectacular” to turn to “devastating.” Please join me in prayer for all of those around the world who are being impacted by the flow and roar of too much water.
Next week, I’ll close this series of summer posts on water and simultaneously begin another series…so stay tuned!