Thursday, May 11, 2017

L’Arche Across America — Day 2 — Children in the Mist

Is Niagara Falls one of the seven wonders of the world? The question came up as we reached the western end of New York State and our 26-day L’Arche journey gained momentum.

No, Niagara may not be on any of those lists, but the great split cataract, half in the US, half in Canada, gave us moments of contemplation and capering.

Annika and Tom had been caravanning with us and would be returning east to Haverhill after lunch Wednesday. We were glad they could come this far.

As he has done recently at a Celtics game and a Celtic Woman concert, Tom approached the edge of the observation area warily, but when he finally clutched the rail, he stood in silent awe beside Annika for a long moment (picture above).

Meanwhile, the Daffy Duo of Todd and Woody provided some laughs with a madcap dance.

Characteristically, Jane offered simple theological insight, calling Niagara “creation at its best.”

Todd countered with a not-so-mystical observation, gazing toward the Canadian side of the falls: “It looks so much more beautiful over there. It looks like Aspen. Here on the American side, it all looks like Haverhill.” 

L’Arche Boston North makes its home in Haverhill, Massachusetts, of course, and the grass is always greener. 

But in the end it was Doris who made my jaw drop. I stood beside Jane as we both watched Doris stare long and dreamily at the rushing water and the mist beside it. 

Jane asked what Doris was thinking about. Doris didn’t answer. 

Jane tried her question again. Still no answer.

Then I watched as Doris seemed to emerge from her spell and walked slowly to our side. “What do you see, Doris?” Jane tried a third time with her lovely, careful, Kenyan lilt.

Doris finally answered: “My son and my daughter.”

I do not know, nor would I divulge if I did, all the details surrounding Doris’s long-ago pregnancy, a double pregnancy of fraternal twins. It is enough to know that the children—whom Woody and Doris had named Woody and Samantha—never lived, and that the devoted couple were never blessed with others.

And that for Doris her children are still living, in a misty vision like Niagara.

The human mind may reign supreme today, but three things are greater still: God, nature, and the human heart.


  1. That's beautiful. Thank you. Wonderful to be reading you again.



  2. What a beautiful reflection. Makes me feel like I was there.


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