Gratitude for the Rivers of Life
We offer gratitude to the Rivers of Life.
The rivers which have carved the lands and fed all the creatures, which have washed and nourished and shaped the people.
We are thankful for the life-giving waters, the moving waters, the shining waters. For waterfalls, eddies, currents, for ever-changing patterns, for leaping fish, otters, invertebrates.
We remember how our ancestors recognized the Rivers as sacred beings, tenderly offering them gifts and prayers.
And we acknowledge with sorrow how humans have also treated rivers as resources to be exploited. As the rivers gave nourishment, we have demanded more and more, as they brought us cleansing, we have used them to wash away chemical toxins until the rivers turned lurid colors and even caught on fire.
As we witnessed the great power of rivers we have sought to harness that power, channeling and damming without regard to the natural ways of the river beings, or the lives of those who used to live in the now-flooded valleys. We are sorry for all of this.
While we acknowledge our debt to all the irrigated fields, to all the water-powered generating stations, we hold dear the places where the rivers run clear and wild, curving in their natural dance with their shores. We hope for, we intend to work for, the return of the rivers to the freshness of their life-replenishing wildness.
We respect and give thanks to all those who have stood up to protect the rivers from further degradation, to clean up the waters and to restore them to their natural flow. We salute the new and ancient practice of regarding Rivers as people with their own legal status.
We admire the rivers as images of constant change and renewal; and as great Sacred Beings.
We may look with quiet eyes on slow peaceful rivers or be moved to unadulterated joy by the white plunge of waterfalls. We may delight in clear cold mountain streams and in salty estuaries or wide muddy river flats teeming with life. In all their shapes and forms we offer our love to Rivers.
We pray that the Rivers of Life will continue to sustain us and all the living world, and that they will be honored and cherished by all.