(Many thanks to all who organized the Walk About Water community potluck in Callicoon. It was a wonderful evening. And especial thanks to Marci MacLean for offering her photos to Breathing. This is what loving a place and taking joy in it looked like in our River town on April 18, 2011.)
The Walk About Water website announced, “ON APRIL 17TH THROUGH 23,2011, five women will walk 90 miles from the Neversink Reservoir, NY to Salt Springs State Park, PA. We will carry a hand crafted “AMPHORA” of clean water taken from Buttermilk Falls in the Catskill Mountains to a place where water is endangered. WALK ABOUT WATER is a grassroots initiative to raise awareness of the sacredness of our water and our land. We will send this water around the world to other endangered lands, as a simple act of solidarity.”
On Monday April 18, forty or so Upper Delaware River Basin residents met at the Callicoon Youth Center pavilion for a community potluck dinner and to await the arrival of Bess Path, Chef Deanna and Chrys Countryman. The three Walk About Water women had trekked (see the map!) from the Neversink River to the Delaware for 10 heartfelt reasons:
1. Six women from NY and PA, grateful to live in a place of abundant clean water
2. We represent Mothers, Grandmothers, Sisters, and Daughters
3. We are moved to action by the threat of contaminated water from the extraction of fossil fuels.
4.Our concern over the harm that will come to our families and future generations
prevents us from simply living our lives peacefully and gratefully.
5. We demand that public health and quality of life for future generations take priority in decisions that affect everyone.
6. To illustrate our concerns we are carrying the most precious substance on the planet -water -90 miles on foot.
7. We do this to bring attention to how precious and vulnerable this essential resource truly is.
8 The need for clean water is something everyone has in common.
9. We seek to make this important point by visibly honoring what we love.
10 We bring good wishes to all water drinkers and bath takers.
Tears of appreciation, smiles of joy and loud applause greeted the women’s arrival. Tannis Kowalchuk
was already dressed and negotiating hugs while on stilts. Greg Swartz explained the many ways he, Tannis and Simon ensure that their organic farm, Willow Wisp
, produces excellent food with the least possible water. A welcome fire was lit and we all noshed on a smorgasbord of salads, chili, bread, chicken, appetizers and desserts provided by each and every one of us.
Tannis Kowalchuk, performer and artistic director of the NACL Theater, prepares to "walk about water" on stilts. Tannis, her husband Greg Swartz and their son Simon also own the organic Willow Wisp Farm which offers great CSA deals.
And then we joined the Walk About Water women for a stroll down Callicoon’s Lower Main Street and across the bridge to Pennsylvania
where we paused because it felt so good.
Forty or so water enthusiasts cross the Delaware River in the rain. They look a bit like May flowers, don't you think? In 2010, American Rivers named the Upper Delaware River, "America's Most Endangered River."
Misty rain and smiling faces on the Callicoon bridge to Pennsylvania.
The next day, we received this note of thanks and the tears flowed all over again:
We are staying the night in one of the most beautiful communities of people we have ever seen, they gave us a party, walked with us from ny to pa,
raised money for us and sent us off with such love that we will take with us on our journey..words cannot express how full our hearts are..
THANK YOU CALLICOON NY,DAMASCUS PA WE SHOULD ALL LIVE THE WAY THEY DO
Chef Denna,Chrys Countryman, Bess Path
Guardians~Frank and Francena