Sitting here in a cafe that squats amidst colorful flowers on the bank of the Selitz River, a warm glow emanates despite the ebb of rain on a metal roof. Light laughter tinkles through the hush of morning people sipping their coffee and reading papers or tapping on their mini-screens like I am now. Outside, underneath large umbrellas, a few people hunch over their cups and table, chatting to each other in soft voices muted by the rain. Conversation alternates between the rare thunder storm here on the Oregon coast and the local events and politics.
A lone fishing boat gently rocks on the dark gray river enveloped by a shade lighter gray sky. Even the trees have a gray cast on this overcast wet morning. Here, on the edge of a river and the edge of an ocean, water also falls from the sky. From a person living the last 17 years where water is so scarce and precious, this abundance almost makes water drip from my eyes.
The moisture here dictates lives, from the moss hanging off trees to the livlihoods of people that call this Home. Growing up in New England where I played in creeks and skated on frozen water, skinnydipped in lakes at midnight and dug new trenches to divert snow water runoff every spring, the arid landscape I moved to challenged my perceptions and perspectives. I learned to do without or with very little water. It became imprinted no matter if water was plentiful or not. Water and its nature taught me much, and it became a respected elder.
What has remained is the magic of water. It doesn’t breathe, cry, or feel pain. Never the less, water can shout, roar, tinkle, and purr. It may be only atoms of hydrogen and oxygen, but it gives us all life. It can carve valleys and populate as bodies. Water can move with force like oceans and rivers, or slowly wander in creeks and be sedentary like lakes. Water can’t vote, plead, or punish. but it can give birth and kill just the same.
Can we justify its abuse, overuse, or contamination because it has no mind, no heart, no voice, and no blood? Is its only merit in monetary value and human recreation? Or might there be an implicit value beyond human assignment?
Perhaps water might be a good teacher of cyclical and dynamic systems, and as a part of all changes on this blue marble in a large universe. It was here long before organized life on this planet. and will remain long after we humans are gone.
Take a walk in the rain and relish its presence. listen to its stories and take care of it as you would a cherished ancestor. Treat it kindly. And go with the flow.