Water- The Essential Source For All Life On Earth

Ice Waves on Nicola Lake near Merritt, BC

This was a fascinating natural event to witness in February of 2008. This photo captures the ice wave phenomenons that were as high as my hips. Peering inside the frozen wave is like seeing the inside of a Geode with crystals. I reached the shores of the lake as noon peaked, after 45 minutes a few of the ice waves began to crash as they melted under the warm sun.

The lake moaned and heaved, and it sounded like distant thunder from across the lake despite the beautiful blue sky . There were even cracks in the ice that looked like lightning bolts. As I listened to the lake continue to moan and heave, I wondered about the awakening of native spirits under the ice. I imagined the stories the Secwepemc First Nations people would tell during the long winter nights inside their Kekulis (semi underground earth pit shelter). The empty pit marks can still be seen along some shores of Nicola Lake where they once wintered long long ago. I even remember a story of how the women were buried with their drinking straws, that were made from the Heron birds' leg bones.


As Martha Stewart would say, "It’s a good thing” a few nights ago I saw on the evening news how some people were melting snow for water to flush their toilets. I was going to wash my hands but the taps were dry! I was thirsty too. It was so cold -25C (-13F) during the night, the water line froze. Therefore, the first thing I did in the morning was fill up my buckets with snow. It is amazing how a huge pot of fluffy snow only melts down to maybe an inch of water. I knew then this could be a long day. All my neighbours had water, so that meant the issue was my pipes. The morning had been planned for baking and making some gifts with my youngest son and his girlfriend. My son immediately stated he was very thirsty. So he melted ice cubes in the microwave for a drink. Then, he willingly hauled drinking water home from the neighbours.

Something primal seems to kick in to every action when we are required to use conscious decision-making. Such as ; to rinse off a knife, to wipe out a bowl, to place dishes in the dishwasher, to melt snow for dishwater or not, and to flush the toilet or not. By 10 am with our body needs considered, my attention turned to whether or not to pay for a plumber, whether or not to warm up the coldest place in the house and to thaw out the pipes or not. Despite noticing the problem at 6 am, I was still contemplating my situation in the afternoon. Friends had offered their advice and support. So all I had to do was follow my intuition and the advice given. I even had plumbing support offered all the way from Alaska!! (Peggy is so sweet) The action most likely required, would be to cut a hole in the drywall where the pipes likely were frozen.

I chose to do my Yoga exercises while I weighed out the pros and cons. My intuitive primal nudge to follow through, was stalled by the hesitation of my modern attachment to comfort and materialism. We had just renovated the basement a little over a year ago. I thought everything had been prepared, if not over prepared. However, despite the decisions we made at that area surrounding the main water pipe, it was not insulated enough. I was reluctant to cut into my wall. The woman in me did not want to damage the aesthetics of home. (Geez... the arguments that override common sense...)

After the consultation with the plumber (who by the way was run off his feet by frozen crisis all over town), I settled into contemplation and reflection. I realised my quietude was a reflective act typically experienced during the dark hours of winter solstice. It used to be at the darkest time of the year when primal societies could only sit, tell stories and reflect inwardly. My need for running water dissipated as I remembered my primal mothering instincts during a lengthy rustic camping experience in a forestry campsite when my boys were younger.

The simplicity of that camping trip centred on the daily use of water. Such as retrieving water from the lake for washing bodies and dishes and heating the water over campfire for bathing at night. Heating water to wash my hair during the day to be sure it dried thoroughly before bedtime. Conserving grey dishwater and disposing of it in the forest.The boys learned that the lake was connected to a watershed lake that provided drinking water for the city way down in the valley below. As well they witnessed the wildlife of Bears and Deer depending on the lake too.

Water was also a threat to getting wet at times when we needed to keep dry, and stay warm as the temperature dipped cold at night in the mountains. As well, maintaining the tarps to keep the tent dry from rainstorms despite the forests being tinder dry and forest fires causing danger and crisis in neighbouring valleys that summer.

The lake water was our main source of entertainment that kept us cool during the day. The boys were happy and kept busy exploring tadpoles in the warm pools of water near the marsh, or floating on rubber boats while I pulled them with a rope along shore or hauled them in if they went out too far. When the fish would n't bite, they got excited when a neighbour camper told them how to catch Crayfish with meat! So the boys huddled on the rocky shore and lured the crayfish out with strips of Cappacoli deli meat! When about to boil up our catch, a violent Thunderstorm threatened our shelter as we hid inside the vehicle for safety.

Cocooned in a fleece blanket on the couch this evening, my reflections turned towards the stories of a woman named Chris Czajkowski who has lived for several years independently in the wilderness in Central British Columbia. I attended her slideshow and book presentation recently and left with awe and respect for her ingenuity and resourcefulness. I thought of Chris going out daily to cut the hole into the lake ice and sometimes wielding a rather large looking chainsaw. As well relying on an outhouse all year round, she conserves her grey water from household to use in her garden. In circumstances like that, life is a daily chore. (From a Buddhism view, it’s literally a ‘Chop wood, Carry water’ life.) Chris has written several books and runs an ecotourism business in the summer at her remote wilderness location near Nimpo Lake. For more information about The Nuk Tessli Alpine Experience, visit http://www.nuktessli.ca/

Chris's lifestyle intrigues me, as I would love to have a rural lifestyle but I keep thinking of all the challenges of which I would not want to be isolated with alone. My future lifestyle choice definitely would be with community or partnership in mind. I reflected on issues of interdependence and that I would not choose to be in a relationship for convenience or dependency. As we age, life partner choices can become quite defined or limited, depending on how one views the situation.

Around 6 pm, my neighbour knocked at the door. He had a hot air gun in his hand looking very much like ‘Tim the Tool Man'. With a sincere look in his eyes he said, “I’m here to thaw your pipes.” We discussed and concluded that a hole or two would be necessary to access pipe(s) that needed to be thawed. Interestingly, we discovered an area that was exposed to a freezing draft. It was obviously due to lack of proper insulation along an outside wall. Funny how all I needed was the prompt to cut the holes and fix the problem. With that, he apologised for making a mess and needed to leave.

Lila my cat sat on the basement stairs and supervised as I continued my work and mess. I stuffed Roxul insulation into the cavity and in and around the pipes. Amazing how there was an immediate difference of temperature. I reflected on the renovation process and the advice suggested at that time for that particular section. (I should have gone with my intuition when I questioned the need for more insulation and the contractor advised it would be fine) HA Ha Ha! I was almost done when I felt a vibration and the combination of copper and pex piping shuddered. It had only been a matter of maybe 5 minutes and the pipe thawed! I could hear water flowing upstairs in the kitchen sink, the bathtub and bathroom sink. It was a beautiful sound as it flowed through the pipe and out the taps.

I noticed that I had a big smile that remained for a long time as I focused on just listening to the flow of water for 5 to 10 minutes. I let out a relaxed sigh, as I felt very grateful for the luxury of flowing water, when millions of people on earth do not have this luxury. I reflected on my sons’ thirst this morning, and that I still had buckets of snow in my tub and dirty snow water on my stove. As well, I now could have a hot shower after installing some itchy insulation to keep the cold out of my home. I was still smiling and sighing long afterwards too. I was so content.

In Chris’s book, ‘NUK TESSLI- The Life of a Wilderness Dweller’, she reflects on the convenient lifestyles of city dwellers and how the lack of knowledge about wilderness and the interconnectedness of living systems, has led to city dwellers considering themselves as separate entities from nature. Chris highlights the necessity for the value of nature immersion’ in our education system. This is just as important as the current language, spiritual or cultural immersion that is in our present public and private systems here in Canada. Chris raises a vital point that Environmental education has become a separate subject that is studied or played with in theme related materials and the shelved.

On page 176, Chris states,
" People who question leaving the city while their kids are still in school, worried that they might "miss out on something" should think again. To teach a child that he belongs in an interdependent ecosystem that deserves respect is surely the greatest,
almost the only, inheritance that he or she needs."


Water is essential for life and not always readily
available to millions of people on Earth.

Perhaps the next time you are thirsty,
listen deeply to the sound of the water being poured.

Perhaps the next time you are near a natural or manmade source of water,
sit quietly to listen to the sound of water.

How do you look at water?
Do you focus on the surface of the water or do you look deeper?

Perhaps the next time you drink from your glass of water and taste it,
consider looking outdoors into your environment.

Living Deeply

If you go out in the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise...for every bear that ever there was, will gather there for certain because, today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic!” (Teddy Bears Picnic)
This is what I was singing in my head, while wandering around to see deeply through the woods, as my friend Lori laid down on the forest floor to peer through her camera up into the treetops. It is so special to share adventures with a friend who has similar interests.

I am feeling the holiday rush of timelines. However, I am also feeling creative and I want to make some decorations. Last Sunday I purchased Cedar, Pine and Boxwood sprigs for my planters. Yet I still need to go for a walk along the river in a peaceful place to cut some Red Willow. Now the trail is covered in snow drifts and there is a wind chill which feels like polar temperatures along the river.
After looking into the photo above, I was inspired to make some ‘earthy’ looking decorations. You see, when I am outdoors I often find little treasures that inspire me to create something. Often these treasures end up in my Studio tucked away until that special moment. Sometimes those special moments are years away! However, I will always consider why it is, I would like to take home something from nature. As a moral practise, such as native cultures do, I will ask the natural object permission to bring them home with me. As well, leave behind a simple offering of gratitude. Be it thankful words, a penny, or some other exchange. There are times when my conscience or intuition stops me in my tracks.

So.... I wanted to make some decorations....Well all it took was my awesome artist friend Jan phoning me from another city to ask if I still had some Wasp nest paper left over and possibly enough to cover a fireplace mantle. I did not. But that led into a creative brainstorm session that inspired her with more ideas and I rediscovered all these gems. Such as dried Rosehips on a wire, Birch tree bark curls, Lichen, Poppy pod stars, Milkweed pods (great little Fairy Boats Janet!), wasp nest paper (great for decoupage) and Pumpkin and Squash stems of various sizes (you can never have enough, or maybe I am too soft hearted to throw them in the compost bin!). So now, what I need are some glue sticks, and I am into some serious fun!

My creative treasures have accumulated because photography has become a more important aspect of my life than ever before. Since buying new cameras in the past 2 years, I came to discover a renewed love for photography. I find when I am out doing Macro photography especially, I become very grounded, calm, and focused. It gives moments of respite from chronic pain. Time slows down and the colors and textures around me enrich my senses. It is fascinating to find tiny treasures like Wild Strawberries with bite marks from Mice nibbling away or ugly Fungi puffing out small clouds of tiny spores. When these magical moments occur, the small simple pleasures become cherished memories of the times we ‘connect to nature’. I must add that I have these same wonderful experiences in my back yard and garden.

We typically think of our first teachers as our parents, caregivers, community, culture, and country. However, what often tends to be overlooked is our connection to nature. From a ‘Deep Ecology’ view, the natural world is our first teacher. It is a gift waiting for us to discover its simplicity and beauty.

What if we took ourselves, or our children/grandchildren, or our family/ friends, and just go outside for a walk or a breath of fresh air to notice some simple and natural pleasures! On the other hand, bring something from nature outdoors, to someone indoors. Or open the curtains, take your coffee outside, and stare at the snowflakes (Well that is for us who live in the snow areas).

You know we have all been there, stressed out because we blew our budgets, or never got the Christmas cards out on time, or a relative arrived with the main gift being, “A Cold!”. You might disagree with me but, I believe getting outdoors is far more healthy than ‘numbing out’ with a few drinks to ease the performance stress during the holidays or the indifferences because we have to endure time with the relations that we perceive rock our boat. Sometimes we may feel unable to meet the social pressures at this celebratory time due to loss, grief, or loneliness for people we cherished, loved, or let us down. At times of great loneliness, doubt, or overwhelm, we can all feel connected by witnessing something magical or intriguing in nature. Ask a pressing question, or say a prayer and then let it go. You may even get a natural answer or inspiration to help you through.


What is Deep Ecology ?
Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, was the first to coin the term Deep Ecology in 1973. He believes the core principal of deep ecology is, that like humanity, the living environment as a whole, has the same right to live and flourish. It is a deep subject with simple answers which invites a person to ask deeper questions concerning the “why” and “how” regarding the impacts of human life as one part of the ecosphere.

I have discovered a pleasant inspiring man on You Tube named, Satish Kumar. He teaches, lectures and runs workshops internationally in ecology, holistic education, and voluntary simplicity. He has a very interesting life story and someday I would like to read his books.

I like how he briefly describes Deep Ecology:

"In 2008, Satish Kumar presented a 50-minute documentary on the BBC as part of the 'Natural World' series. In the programme, Satish introduced the Dartmoor scenes and sights that most inspire him and contemplated the lessons they hold for humanity. A highly acclaimed documentary that mixed eastern philosophy with the western landscape of Dartmoor;
the programme was watched by over 3.6 million people"
As quoted from Satish Kumar's magazine website. www.resurgence.org
(Apparently this DVD is not available in North America yet, I hope it is soon!)
However we can watch it on You Tube
Earth Pilgrim – Satish Kumar 1-6

Do you remember finding special treasures in nature and felt as if they were a gift that came at a time when you were seeking guidance or answers during challenging times?

Have you ever noticed an increase in creativity when you were out in nature or thinking of times in nature?

A simple gift during the season can be to invite someone out for a walk, or drive, or bring something from the outdoors inside. Notice the natural smell, color and textures. Describe what attracts your attention and perhaps how it makes you feel!

Seasons Greetings Everyone!

The Great Turning - Crisis or Opportunity

I call this, the Cloud Machine. It travels up the side of the hill from the Domtar mill, which is down along the shores of the Thompson River, not far from where to two rivers converge. The mighty North Thompson River and the South Thompson River merge and this is how the Shuswap people named Kamloops, BC, Canada. T’Kumloops (Kamloops) means, meeting of the waters. This convergence of the rivers is also known as a sacred channel of great energy.

The ‘Cloud Machine’ is said to emit 80% condensation and 20% pollutants. On certain days in Kamloops, you can smell the mill, if the wind is blowing your way. However, the emissions are far less than what was emitted almost 20 years ago. With a sense of curiosity, I like to pause and watch the cloud formations. Perhaps because when I was a youth, I loved to admire the shapes of Popcorn. Each fluffy and exploded kernel seemed a worthy creation to be photographed. In my early twenties, ‘National Geographic for Kids’ beat me to it! So presently in adulthood, the emissions of the Cloud Machine continue to intrigue my imagination and as well sadden me.

Currently, our global community is acknowledging the impact of the Economic Crisis. However, that crisis is not separate from the ongoing Environmental Crisis. As we watch the news, headlines and statements affect us such as:

The Greatest Economic Challenge of our time” – Barak Obama“
"Global Meltdown” - George W. Bush
Tighten our Purse strings” - Conservative Party of Canada
Weathering the Storm” - Kamloops Daily News
Other strong words referring to the economic crisis used are; Cuts, Loss, Collapse, Breakdown, Plunged, Declined, Deficit, Depression, and Recession ...OMG

Alright.. ~Breathe ~ Did you notice how these words can physiologically affect you? What happened to your body? Did your chest feel tight? Did your mood seem down? Did it seem like you would rather not read on about this kind of stuff?

If you can, gaze out a window into the landscape or if not, close your eyes and visualize a beautiful place ~Breathe~

It is more common for our Global Community to be sucked into a vortex of Fear-based thinking as the current Economic and Environmental Crisis sinks into our Collective Consciousness. As this happens, it causes emotional reactions in our people, such as an increase in anxiety and depression and /or numbing and apathy.

Now consider the following words that can affect our perceptions or perspectives:
Crisis .......................Opportunity
Consumption ..............Simplicity
Profitable .................Sustainable

"When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change."

-Wayne Dyer

The economic collapse is naturally connected to consumption and abuse of our planet’s resources. Therefore, consciously reconnecting to nature will inspire our creativity to see opportunities to sustain the Earth’s resources and simply provide for our future generations.

Through the past few decades and currently, Canada’s famous environmentalist David Suzuki has continually spoken about ‘renewable energy’ and that we need to ‘change our mindset’.

If you listen carefully to the Media, you may currently hear only a few comments or stories in the news that mention,

‘We need to think creatively and work collaboratively...’

This is what we need to focus on, so our global community feels energized and motivated to shift from the, Industrial Growth Society to a Life Sustaining Society. The name for this transition is, ‘The Great Turning’’. 4

Joanna Macy 4 is a deeply respected Ecophilosopher grounded in Buddhism and Systems theory. She has created a groundbreaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its’ application. Her group methods are known as theThe Work That Reconnects’. Her work helps people transform despair and apathy in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises to constructive, collaborative action. It brings new ways of seeing the world, as our larger living body, freeing us from assumptions and attitudes that now threaten the continuity of life on Earth.

Joanna Macy states,

“The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world-we've actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new
relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other."

Joanna Macy on ‘Embracing Pain’ of the world (3 min)_____________________________________

The stories from Dr. Seuss captures the imaginations of young and old people. His books for older children contain great teachings about the ‘Industrial Growth Society’ and the effects of consumerism, consumption, and depletion of our environmental resources.
Such as in the story, ‘The Lorax’, that is about the cutting down of the Truffala trees to make sneethds and ‘anything else that anyone needs’. The story ends with a child holding the last seed of the Truffala trees.

So go get a cup of Tea
and watch this amusing and thought provoking video
with the heart of a child, and the mind of an adult! :0)
Perhaps you will find a seed or two to inspire you!
The Lorax -by Dr. Suess (Theodore Suess Geisel)
(To be viewed in 6 segments)

We are all in the same boat
floating on the stream of consciousness.
It is time to go with the flow
and enter ‘The Great Turning’.
It is the essential adventure of our time!

But..Don't jump into De-nile Without De Lifejacket! ;0)