March 23, 2013. Byron Bay
Nothing binds humanity like water. Nothing connects us as societies and nothings connects us individually -like water.
We can see it,
We can learn from it,
We have it in us and we love being in it.
Surely, recent times have shown most clearly and powerfully the ability of water to unite communities.
Over the last couple of years, the most significant movement of people within our area to ever unite and challenge unjust, unnecessary and dangerous practices spread its roots, grew, blossomed and bore fruit.
The anti CSG movement succeeded in uniting our vastly different and disparate communities because all shared the same value on water. The impact on farm- land, the impact on tourism, the impact on an alternative energy future were all valued differently by different members of the No CSG movement.
Water, stood above all.
It was the one threat that cut across all divides: economic, ideological, political and geographic.
For its importance is understood- it keeps us alive and the water cycle matches the life cycle. Across all walks of life, we understood Thomas Fuller’s insight that, “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ”
We refused to let the well run dry and so the share price of Metgasco began to run dry.
So, indeed, we only need to observe the wonderful community engagement and revitalisation that sprung from the no CSG movement to see that nothing connects our societies like water.
This is true individually also.
Perhaps we represent a slightly skewed average of individual connection to water here. We are, of course, living in the Northern Rivers, where swimming and fishing and interacting with our rivers and creeks are essential aspects of life across our region. And of course, living next one of the finest coastal areas on the planet spoils us with watery riches that we often dont truly appreciate until we leave the shire’s bubble for a short while.
Like a small fire that becomes a portal for our minds to enter new worlds, perhaps we love sitting and watching the ebb and flow of water because it soothes and sparkes our memory like nothing else. Who hasn’t found themselves sitting before our ocean, lost in thought, or sitting with our memories, whilst the physical manifestation of meditation moved, crashed, rose, retreated and repeated itself before us? Like our lives, the ocean seems to serve as a reminder of what has happened and what will happen. Searching for a peaceful life with contented memories, maybe we envy the ocean’s, ‘perfect memory’ as described by Toni Morrison.
However, water is not just the perfect meditative tool with which to interact, we also connect with it because we can learn so much from it. Lao Tzu was so perfect in his observation that, “In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.” We see in it the potential for both great gentleness, yet incredible strength. for again, we see the truth in Lao Tzu’s observation that, “ Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”
We are connected to water-it is in us and we love being in it.
We produce water, infact as Isak Dinesen said, “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Within us, water keeps us hydrated and vital. This was brought home to me most starkly l just last night, for when my 8 month girl was ill, it was the simple matter of giving her water to soothe her that let her return to sleep. Perhaps Henry David Thoreau said it most simply and accurately, ““Life in us is like the water in a river.”
Today, it is great to pause, reflect, celebrate and unite over our love, appreciation and respect for water. We thank it for inspiring us, keeping us alive and providing life to Mother Earth.