During the spring and summer of the Covid-19 first season, my granddaughter Audrey and I created a ritual. Each day, we would go on an “adventure” to a place with small rocks and running water. Audrey delighted in the “splash” the rocks made when thrown into the water: even puddles would do! We explored Four Mile Run near her home in Arlington, Virginia, and the Potomac River near mine. As the death count from Covid rose; and the pandemic revealed the deep racial inequities in the U.S., despair could have become my companion. But, our ritual of seeking water became a balm to my spirit. [And, there is nothing like caring for a 2-year old to keep you in the present, an active form of “mindfulness.”]
In every religious tradition around the world, water carries great symbolic meaning. We sing of “going down to the river to pray.” The Bible opens with a river in the Garden of Eden and closes with a river that flows by the tree of life. Jesus promises “living water.” The Ganges River is the site of many central Hindu rituals. John O’Donohue writes: “I would love to live as a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” My water ritual became a way of grounding me in a liminal time; full of turbulent and frightening forces that outstrip my own wisdom. The play of light upon the water, and the patterns the light created on the rocks helped me to see hope in the darkness.
Out of this experience came A River Runs Through It (Us?): The Watchers. — pictured right
McLean, Virginia USA
This tapestry has its source in the river ritual I practiced with my granddaughter during the Covid-19 spring and summer of 2020. The photograph shows Audrey by the Potomac River, after playing "splash." The written word describes our ritual and how it resulted in the tapestry.
'Water' as quality, perspective, phenomenon, and giver of life.
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