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Water is Life

By Robin Buyers

Elders say that the First Teaching is Gratitude for Life. When Elder Jimmy Dick holds a Sunrise Ceremony, he shares this Teaching, and counsels greeting each day with a drink of water. Kairos Blanket Exercise facilitator, trainer, and Grandmother, Mim Harder agrees, saying that we might pause even to acknowledge the Water that is part of our morning cup of coffee or tea.


Gardeners come to understand that Water is Life in the tending of what has been planted. July began hot and dry, 10 days without a drop of rain. Robin and Michael Buyers, Nelly Kimunguyi, and Betsy Anderson worked out a schedule for ensuring that the gardens got the water they needed every morning, before the sun hit the leaves.


One morning, Lorraine Cowley came by to commiserate about the time and effort it takes to water at St. Matt’s, given the placement of the outdoor taps in our aging building. It seems the Cowley family had taken on garden care in the past, and discovered that the tap in the east narthex window well required considerable athleticism, even for the tall and long-limbed, to use. After one attempt, we’d settled on using only the tap under the Rushton Road stairs, still not easy to reach, but doable.


And then the rain came. First a Wednesday storm that tested the trellising of our tomatoes and beans. Then a full day Saturday of the gentle rain that allows our Relations, the Plants, to drink deep and thrive. Many of us in the congregation were able to taste and see the lushness of the gardens when we met at a distance last Sunday afternoon to wish Lauren and Ruby well on her parental leave.

By this week, the serviceberries were juicier, the vines of beans and squash longer, the tomatoes taller. Once the sun came out, we were back to daily watering, but with the task made


easier by our beloved solver-of-all-problems-with-the-church-building, John Shipman. There’s now a tap at the top of the west narthex window well. We are so grateful.


Catherine Brooks closed our Summer Solstice Circle to bless the Right Relations Garden with the Anishinaabe Water Song, a song Elder Mary Lou Smoke says people learn so fast its as if they’ve known it all their lives:


Wichita do ya do ya do ya

Wichita do ya do ya do ya

Wichita do ya do ya do ya

Wichita do ya do ya heh


Wacha tonaya hey ya hey ya

Wacha tonaya hey ya hey


The sound of Water flowing, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, that Life that gave us birth, lives in our bodies, and quenches the thirst for Life of All Our Relations, all living things.


Art by Shawna Brooks


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