Water spoke to me. In 2005, standing on my family’s ancestral land in North Carolina and deep in my imagination, I felt the gathering of rocks and plants, moon and water, people and animals. Each had come from ages past to share their wisdom with me.
I first hear the drops at a distance. A gentle dance of water on leaves. Rain begins to fall from the sky, one puffy white cloud in an otherwise clear expanse. I laugh. For the past week I have been hurrying around trying to avoid the rain in North Carolina. Hurry to put up my tent before the rain starts, hurry to take it down so it stays dry, wait to drive until after the storm passes. I acted as if rain was some sort of enemy. Here, sitting around this council fire, the rain again finds me. This time I relax back and let the drops splash on my warm skin, a welcome relief from the heat.
A voice comes with the splashing of the drops as they land in the clay pot at the edge of our circle. “I am water. Most of this earth is water. You plants and animals are mostly water, just like me. Long, long ago the waters gathered together and splashed on this barren land. From my undulating womb was birthed the beginning of all of life on this small planet. The water that flows through your veins, bathes your tissues, flows over the earth, and falls from the sky is the same water that was present in Life’s birthing. Water that was, water that is, water that always will be.
In and out of the skies, the oceans and your bodies; I long to be on the move. Washing, cleansing, bathing, freshening.
Water is one of the primary gifts that brings life on this little planet. My free flowing was intended to wash on everyone, without cost.
In recent years I am being robbed of my gift to the world. Now in too many places I am dirty and dangerous before I even touch the ground. Far too often I am filled with poisons by the time I flow into the river, killing the very life that I am entrusted to surround and nourish. Even in the wildness of the ocean, I too often carry the death of spilled oil, toxins and garbage along my waves. Instead of providing life-giving water I am too often forced to carry contamination. Now many of my raindrops are tears of grief.
In the end, I will survive. If this abuse continues, you humans and many of you plants and animals may die out.
You have forgotten. How you treat me, waters of the earth and waters of your bodies, is how you treat yourself. How you see me is how you see yourself. We are not separate. We all flow from the sacred heart to be of service to all of life. All of creation joins my plea to you humans; open your eyes and see anew with gratitude the gift that flows from the beginning to the end. Step into the river, into the living water, as part of the family of life. I want to flow abundantly and again offer life to all.”
Silence returns to the circle, broken only by a short burst before the rain ends. Long after the rain has stopped, drops continue to fall from the forest leaves. The trees know how to relish a good rain for a long time.
This writing is excerpted from “A Circle of Wisdom” that flowed from an experience near my family’s ancestral land in North Carolina and the depths of my imagination. I’ll share parts of the wisdom I “heard”—from water, rocks, plants and animals—in this blog series.