Water: beautiful, powerful, moving, treacherous, life-giving, flowing through our veins, through earth’s veins, taken for granted, precious, tenuous, unpredictable, limited, overflowing…
I feel like I have water on the brain. I woke this morning to images of water flowing–a water main break in Los Angeles had me gasping at the waste of a precious resource. Our drought in Southern California–in CA as a whole (and other western states)–is so severe that I feel the constant of thirst, in my throat, in my heart, for our plants and animals, for our people. Reservoirs and lakes have shrunken to show thick exposed shorelines, creeks are but a distant memory of a trickle. And the flooding in Colorado has me wishing we could share in this bounty rather than experience the extremes of water.
Floods, like their cousins wildfires, remind us that there is much we do not and cannot control.
I spent time today on the banks of the Clark Fork River in Missoula, MT learning and thinking about the indigenous stories of this place. The beauty of the river masks its troubled history and ancient lineage. Indigenous and scientific knowledge swim in these waters that tourists may see as a playground, a place for floating on inner tubes and cooling off in the 90 degree temperatures.
Inspired by the water, I wrote with others as part of a mini writing marathon at our Intersections meeting today. The writing was rich and layered with stories of experiences with water…or no water. And changing the lens…through the indigenous stories and science…prompted our memories and connections, letting the stories pour like the water itself.
Like water, there is power in writing. Power to connect, to heal, to think and reflect. We sometimes forget that writing in unexpected places, creates new urgency and agency for our writing. So go outside, find a place by a river, on the curb, under a tree, or even sit on the car bumper and see what writing comes when you change your lens.