Week one of Walking Water is complete, and today we closed our first cycle with gratitude, grief and joy for our water and world. As we walk through the Owens Valley, bearing witness to the land and water, meeting people from different facets of the complex web of local water issues, we keep aware of the many water situations around the world. The story here is a mirror of challenging global water issues, and our prayer joins so many emerging movements for reconciliation and regeneration. During our walk, we heard from a pilgrim who has been to Standing Rock and a young woman sharing her story of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Activists of the heart, we join our spiritual political journey with the big streams of healing bringing so many together at this time.
In week two and three we will welcome new pilgrims including peace workers from Tamera Healing Biotope in Portugal, Rajendra Singh from India, Marcela Olivera from Bolivia and Shira Kronich from Israel. We bring these water activists together to widen our perspective, weaving their success stories into our dreams of a healthy future with water for all.
Since its inception, Walking Water has been an invitation, and we encourage people to walk with water in their own watersheds. This year we have several inspired Sister Events, people and projects listening to the water issues of their place and finding the relevant forms to bring people and stakeholders together to listen to each other and the water.
In Turkey, Friends of Alakir River have walked in solidarity on September 23rd. After the failed military coup this summer, the government approved a decree that enables private interests to receive benefits from investing in mining, hydro-power, and other industries that harm the water and land of this country. “Today, defending nature and the lives of all beings in nature is more difficult and more dangerous now than ever. But we are far from giving up: the environmental movements from all around the country have come together to raise the struggle against this attack.”
Skala Ecovillage of the Thessaloniki region in Greece, organized a day dedicated to the Water inspired by Walking Water. “Our ecovillage is an attempt to form and accomplish an ecological friendly and collective way of living. It was not a coincidence that this event happened at the very same day of national elections here in Greece for a new government, reminding us that environmental and political issues go together. Together, with a diverse group of people, we entered the gorge keeping in mind the connection with the Californian Walking Water pilgrimage.”
Natural Spirit in the Czech Republic is a platform that provides meaningful learning and personal development in accordance with the rhythm of nature and human nature. On August 11-14 of 2016, Natural Spirit organized a women’s water pilgrimage in support of Walking Water. “Science teaches us that as much as water can heal us, we can heal the water with our consciousness. We put this gratitude and love from our heart into a prayer or meditation and convey it to a water stream that will flow all the way to the ocean. All our prayers will merge in the ocean and will manifest a good world for next generations of all living beings.”
Friends of the Brazos, a multi-county community supported effort, will organize a walk in the Mitchell Bend area of the Brazos River. “We will meet and walk from 6-8 pm, Sunday, September 30th to join in solidarity with Walking Water and celebrate the beauty and original nature of our river. We welcome donations to help continue our work watch-dogging the Brazos River Authority’s permit requests to prevent the over-selling of water rights.“
A group from the Tamera Healing Biotope community in Portugal will go on a “walking tour” in their local watershed. Tamera is woven deeply with Walking Water; this year a community member walks with us, and two grace our kitchen, feeding us for the second year in a row. Their pilgrimage will follow the Sado basin from Colos to Setubal from October 2nd to 12th. “The group wants to walk the land, explore our watershed, get to know its inhabitants, listen to the people, listen to animals, plants and water as living beings, bear witness to the pain of the tortured nature and envision a region whose communities take responsibility for their watershed.” Transition Town Sao Luis will also organize a walk from the public water treatment in their area to the creek that leads to their main river called Mira.
Members of the community from Findhorn Foundation in Scotland will organize a walk on Findhorn beach in Scotland on October 22nd. On October 23rd, Earth Walker and Findhorn resident, Geoff Dalglish, will present a slideshow and stories from this year’s Walking Water pilgrimage. He will then travel to his homeland of South Africa to share the story and listen with others for a pilgrimage being envisioned for 2017.
OTEPIC of Kenya will do tree-planting and walking along the local river. OTEPIC empowers communities to grow and enjoy their own food through providing grass root education in skills of sustainability. “OTEPIC project is always happy to be involved with Walking Water. We shall focus more on tree planting in the schools and also on our community farm, we shall hold discussion and also have a tree planting campaign with the community in Kitale.”
The Ojai Foundation will organize a day-long pilgrimage in Matilija Canyon on October 4th followed by Council.
Step by step, the longest march
Can be won, can be won
Many stones can form an arch
Singly none, singly none
And in union what we will
Can be accomplished still
Drops of water turn the mill
Singly none, singly none
Many more have expressed interest, and while events are not yet officially planned, we know many more are walking with us. In British Columbia’s Salt Spring Island, ally Naomi Jenson will bring the prayer for water into her Dance Temple. Laurie Adams of Rivers Bend in Mendocino county will call community members together to be with the waters of the Navarro River and the Navarro River Resource Center.
With so many community connections near and far, we give thanks for what has already emerged and look forward to continue to grow this water web in 2017 and beyond. To those with curiosity and interest, you are warmly welcomed to join us in solidarity with the waters, local and global.