Last Friday, I left the to spend the night one hour south, in Big Sur. It felt good to sleep in a cozy hotel space, even as it felt a little odd to my body now growing accustomed to sleeping in the darkness of the farm. Our hotel room was stocked with mini soaps, scented shampoos, soda cans and lotions. Consumer conveniences. By the white sink a little plastic sign read: Water Is Precious on the California Coast, Use Wisely. If you wish to reuse your towel, place on the towel rack.
Water is precious, it's true. But I wondered if this language also reflects a broken relationship to water in this industrialized nation. What does it say about a nation when water is treated as just another amenity, there for use like a towel? For those with the resources to use water at will, there appears to be an option of choosing to respect it and protect it. For those who thirst, whose water is stolen or degraded or polluted, water means the difference between life and death.
This question rises in me while on this farm. This June, my farm apprenticeship rol focuses on irrigation. I feel like a water spider, navigating a web of drip tape, oscillators and gauging soil moisture, charged with balancing the flow of water the needs of the plants. There is beauty in the process and I feel a reverence watching crops respond to the presence of water. Bare beds full of seed transform to a mist of pale green. Baby plants raise fledgling leaves to the sun and slowly lengthen. Squash flowers bloom and fatten beneath hand-shaped leaves. There are many subtleties. Too little water equals death. Too much watering can drown. The lives of plants, the possibility of food, all depend on water.
Water is life. How often does it go unseen in its liquid journeys through root, leaves, and fruit, through sky, cloud, river, rain, and sea? Through dams and reservoirs, pipelines, bottles and sewers, through tailing ponds, storm drains, and human sweat and tears?
When we protect water, when we change relationship from use to one of respect, we protect life.
Water Is Life: there are many powerful grassroots groups leading efforts to defend, honor and protect the water and waterways we all share and depend on. Here's a few...