New River, USA - Susan Farquharson
My Watermark is New River, Arizona.
I was 4 years old and I was often sitting by a lake or stream. It was a brisk early spring day and I was helping my big brother carry water from the stream near our new home.
Although very young, I know that day began my unconscious journey of a life dedicated to working in the environmental realm and my deep intuitive awareness that all things are connected.
It was the early 60s, and my family had built a new home: still tar papered, rough plywood floors, curtain-cupboard doors and smack dab in the middle of nothing but trees and stumps where Dad had cleared enough space to place a home. I know now that we had dug a well, but for some reason it had dried up over the winter.
On this particular day, my brother was carrying two metal buckets, one in each hand, and I was holding on to one. I remember the thin metal handle burning cold even through my mitten, but I was not letting go... I was going! We were off to fetch fresh water from a stream that ran down along the western edge of our property, down over a steep thickly wooded bank. To me, going in the woods that far was a magical journey; the trees were colossal as they would be to a 4 year old, and I remember thinking how that bright green moss under my feet felt like I was walking on marshmallows. It was late enough in the year that most of the snow had disappeared but there were remnants of winter ice still surviving in the shadows of the trees and along the stream edges.
As we walked along the stream, I remember being so impressed with how it intuitively tucked around the huge trees and disappeared for small stretches under the bright green moss and then would re-emerge and continue its journey, with a goal-seeking mind of its own. It didn’t’ take long for my big brother to fill the buckets at the first dark open pool we came to but instead of returning to the house right away, he set the pails down, took my hand and we continued to follow the stream as it made its twist and turns through the forest.
Suddenly, we emerged at the side of a pond, surrounded by more huge trees and we sat quietly on the water’s edge and just listened. I still do that to this day, just sit by the water and listen. Listen for the interactions of nature, the messages it wants to tell, the inter-dependency we have yet to grasp, the connections of life, all embodied so well by the flow of water.
That stream still makes its way to the pond and beyond today, although with much less vigor, it’s still goal-seeking and making its own path; as am I.
During my recent stay at the Waterkeepers National Water Centre in New Brunswick, I had the opportunity to sit along the water’s edge and listen once again. This time, as I did, nature engaged me and I was given the opportunity to aid a damselfly. Together we removed the cement like web from her body she had unintentionally collected on the edge of a spider’s web... from which I released her. It took some time and patience but as she grabbed on tight to the tip of a small stick and ran her tail with much effort between her shimmering paper-thin wings, I assisted providing that extra push with a piece of soft straw to get through the cement-like-web and release each wing until she flew away. I think Disney’s Tinker Bell is based on a damselfly.
Take the time to sit by the water, stop and listen...nature will engage you.