I have seen it all. The warriors, floating through different communities in search of game, trade, and war. The mothers, supporting their families and land, treading gently to and from as if carrying a precious gift.
I have seen life and death. I have healed bodies and carried them away. I reflect all lightness, holding the warmth of a long summer day, only to swallow up the night, my depths a dark abyss you are careful to avoid.
Peoples of different bone structure and skin colour have journeyed throughout my pathways. Continents have shifted, countries have raised flags, and I remain.
Millenia has passed and still, some continue to use me in search of food, while others as a way to care for their children. I am a part of you. I am a part of Mother Earth. We work in unison, my veins traveling across this land like the roots of a tree.
Now I am seen as a body to bring joy more than simply a tool of survival. Beings from across this planet see me as a place to assemble. You visit me for fleeting hours, immerse yourself for a week, or turn to me for longer chapters and deeper answers.
I notice you bringing things with you to enhance your time with me. Long familiar boards and paddles and newer stranger things with motors. The little ones splash and use their imagination to create magic moments. Others sit and simply watch me, my movements like a dance that mesmerizes and calms the mind.
I am a meeting place and a place of goodbyes. As I expand and retreat, the way you interact with me similarly ebbs and flows.
I baptize you and make you feel renewed. I am power and strength, but also a peaceful meditation.
You need me.
Throughout history, water has played an incredibly important and honourable role. Across the world, water has always been a source of life, healing, and a place to meet in the community. As the years change and people journey from place to place, water has remained constant.
For some, water allows them to communicate with their ancestors, for others, they see themselves in the flowing body. I am in each of you and flow through your hearts and minds.
Regardless of whether one has grown up near a body of water or has lived upon the desert sands, the connection we have with water is constant.
It is this connection that underscores our responsibility to care for the water as she has cared for us. When we act recklessly, obliviously walking across the Earth with an air of indestructibility, water sees this as us disregarding all that she has – and continues to – do for us.
During this most difficult chapter of local, national and international conflict — we as citizens of this world must reflect and actively work to protect the one body who has sustained us from the very beginning.
Learning about the bodies of water that are near you, her historical roles and present condition can help encourage you to tread more carefully through life.
Make each movement a sustainable and loving one.
Regardless of where life takes us, water has always and will always be here. The only question is whether she will give us permission to be here as well.
To learn more about water health and ethical environmental practices, check out these resources:
Words and photographs by Daisy Enright
Daisy Enright grew up along the shores of Georgian Bay in Wasaga Beach, Ontario. She is currently in the process of completing a double major in Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at the University of Toronto. A lover of adventure by foot and float, she enjoys kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and hiking. You can find Daisy with a book or camera in her hand, talking about human rights and environmental movements while sipping on a cup of coffee. Find her on Instagram.