Water is life. Water is a precious resource. Water defines our quality of life and the choices we make — where we want to live and how we share it and how we take care of it. In New Mexico water is everything. How has being with water influenced your experiences? Water can be big like an ocean or little like a stream. It is a powerful force that demands our respect and attention. The following stories reveal each person’s personal experience with being by or in a body of water and what happened there.
Have you ever done something daring with water or in water? Has anything ever happened when you were in water that challenged you?
Were you part of the experience or did you witness an amazing water encounter in nature with a sea creature, a bird or a water mammal? This is an experience that expands you, feeling bigger than you and your world. Was it scary? Was it profound? Was it daring?
I had this amazing malamute dog who loved all people and all things in life. He was so friendly. One time we took him to go swimming at the confluence of the Feather River in Spanish Creek in northern California, which creates the mighty Feather River. We were playing and swimming in the river and he saw a family of otters.
His curiosity overwhelmed him and he went to join in with the otter family. This little family of otters played with him. The two babies would swim underneath him and they would go back and forth in the river. It was a delightful sight to watch and be able to experience the pure energy of connection. I witnessed an amazing waterborn encounter.
This morning at Puffers Pond before the sun was shining on the pond, I watched a bald eagle flying around the pond scaring ducks that pass through and ones that live on the pond. The eagle would fly from tree to tree swooping down alarming the ducks. The sun started to come up and the eagle flew to a sunny spot to warm himself. Witnessing this, I felt connected to the drama between the birds and was taken away from my thoughts. I was moved by the quality of connection with the natural world. The quality of “With.”
One experience was in Tobago in the West Indies where I worked as a wrangler taking out small groups of people horseback riding. We would ride through the bush then hit the ocean. The horses went right into the water, swimming along the shoreline chest deep in the ocean. Stingrays started swimming all around the horses in between their legs; this did not scare the horses and did not even faze them. Both creatures were at peace with each other. It was like a dance they already knew. It was beautiful to watch. I was not scared because the horse was not scared. The balance of the water between the creatures and me felt fluid, really natural.
The most amazing water story was when we traveled to the waterfalls called Iguazu Falls, in Argentina or Brazil. It is where you can view the falls from two different locations in a natural reserve. In both countries it is a spectacular sight. We went in these boats, all our valuables in watertight bags. You get really wet and get dangerously close to the edge of these massive falls. I was scared and awestruck by the danger and the beauty. It was the most dramatic natural sight I have ever seen. It was profound, scary, and daring.
I remember as a teenager, about 13 or 14, my stepfather and I planned a big fishing trip on Rock Creek. At the time I was bold, dangerous and fearless. My stepfather continued up the trail and I went below to a fishing hole down the cliff side. The water was enormous, raging and running fast. As I was working my way down, I slipped and started sliding down the cliff to the edge of the raging water. I slipped into the water up to my waist. I miraculously stopped and grabbed onto the rocks so as not to fall down the waterfall below me. Thank God, I did not die! This was a terrifying water experience where I surely could have died — no survival if I had fallen all the way into the water. By the way, in the end I did not even catch a fish.
What about tears? What about all our experiences with tears of emotional water? Crying is a release of deep feelings… An experience that moves you to do things you might not ordinarily do, because you are so moved. Strong feelings bring on tears. I have lately been empathetic and compassionate towards my family, my friends and the suffering of the world. This morning I woke early, started a fire, let the dogs out, then in, and went back to bed. I lay there and prayed. I prayed for all the pain of my family and friends and extended that out. The praying brought great tears, tears of compassion. I dared to let myself truly feel for others and then sent the love out. Water has many forms and can change instantly.