God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Water is Life

Pilgrim Park -Princeton IL
 Today I went to one of my sacred spaces. This is the place where I meet God, and where I have met God from childhood to adult hood. Water played a large role in my experiences of this place, Pilgrim Park in Princeton, Illinois.

Water is Life. While I was on staff, I had one of those mini enlightenment moments. I had read the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance because the cute boy was into it. But the reading of this book led me to explore Buddhism and discover the work of Thich Nhat Hahn. He taught me how to pray. He has a meditation where you say words from nature as you breathe in and out.
Pilgrim Park - Princeton, IL
The words are water reflecting. Now I was not consciously speaking these words but I had stopped on the bridge before the cabins and was looking at the water flowing under the bridge. When I noticed this area that was a little whirl pool. A leaf had gotten caught in the vortex and was spinning around in the water. At that moment, I lost myself in the water, the stones and the leaf. Time stopped and I was totally present with the water, the leaf, the stone. Water is life.

Pilgrim Park - Princeton, IL
Water is life. This section of the creek is where we often camped. My brother, sister, and I would climb down the bank into the water . We played where these tributaries meet. We splashed and waded. We picked up stones washed smooth and clean. We gathered the large stones that were used to build the fireplace. We would find the best stones for skipping across the water and try to see who could  have the most skips. We would catch frogs and let them go. I would get lost there on the river bank listening to the sounds of water running, of frogs croaking, the birds singing, and insects buzzing.  Water became a place for fun and laughter, a place to bond and explore, a place to play and learn. Water is life.

Pilgrim Park - Princeton, Illinois
Water is life. I adored the swinging bridge that led to the cross. The old bridge really bounced and swung. Some people hated when you really made it swing. Others thought the more it swung the better the journey. The sound of the water roared in this spot. There were rapids that caused the sound of water to become part of your journey across the bridge. To cross the bridge was to be full of laughter and joy. Water is life.

Pilgrim Park - Princeton, Illinois
Water is life. Being fall the swimming pool is empty, but my memories are of learning fun but also of learning to save a life. The pool brings memories of playing water polo, of racing my brother and seeing who could hold their breath the longest. But there are also moments of learning to save a life. Having to swim laps while carrying the weight of another. She was so heavy. She did not float, she sunk. So I was dragging dead weight through the water and she got to carry me I float. There their was the mile we had to swim. I felt like forever. It didn't matter what stroke I used, I thought it would never end. But then there was the moment with the campers when someone struggled and went under and I was able to jump in and save a life. Water can be calming, full of fun, but it can also be dangerous.
Pilgrim Park - Princeton, Illinois
 This piece of water made me stop. This is the place where  two of the creeks come together. When there was someone who knew about water this was the direction we would head to be taught about the ecosystem. But, when I am there I see now human intervention and change. Thich Nhat Hahn talks bout how water is the same and yet never the same. So we experience the water as looking the same, but the molecules in the water are not the same for it is a different water for it is flowing by, moving, journeying. Yet this spot also makes me see humanities intervention. You couldn't drive a truck this way across the water. there was no way to cross with a vehicle you had to go the long way around. This spot has been changed. The water still flows but the beauty has been stuttered, interrupted with the bridge. It also shortened the journey. Now you don't have to skipp across the brig rocks int he shallow area to cross the creek where we used to make sand candles. We have often stepped into the water and changed it, forced change upon it. Water is life.

Water is life. Change can be good or bad. When the people at Standing Rock say water is life they are asking us to see the river and the action of building a pipeline in the context of history. The pipeline was moved froma place that would affect mostly white people to an area that could threaten the water of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. This is part of a history where in the US we believe that people of color should bear the burdens of industrial waste. Toxic Waste and Race is a study of the siting of environmentally risky activities in communities of color. But this is also within the context of broken treaties and violations of the land. When there is something we need on the land we violate the boundaries of the tribe. This action has become a way to say no, to stop the destruction of the environment, to say no to treaty violations, to make a stand and say no more. To learn more about what is happening and how you can help click to learn more -  Standing Rock/DAPL. Water is life.

Water is Life. We have been asked to prayer for the water protectors at Standing Rock. As you listen to the water running over the rocks remember the story from John 4 of Jesus offering the water of life to someone who is a near yet despised neighbor, who is even rejected by her own community for her lifestyle choices. Yet Jesus offers her the living water. Water is life

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