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.


  1. Hi there,
    Thank you for following my blog. I'm glad to have found yours and am looking forward to having a look around when I have some time.
    I only recently discovered deep ecology this past year, but it has really shifted how I think about and notice the world so much.
    All the best,

  2. Yes, most of us fail to see the beauty around us. Our diaspora from nature into towns and cities has only increased this gulf, but then for some of us this has only made our awareness of the loss and thirst for sights, scents and sounds of nature more acute. I love your blog, I love its detail and focus. Near where I live, musk ducks can still be heard. Their submariners' "ping" rises above the competing noise of traffic...and sometimes, at night, wghen the humm of traffic has lessened, the call and singing of the black swans as they fly between the lakes near my house can still be heard. Water is sacred. It is what we are made of and together with the air that our heart's pump comes the awareness of our connections to all things of water...and air... Love your blog! Keep up your observations and writing! Tim

  3. Thanks Tim for sharing your reflections about the water and birds where you live down under!

    It is so true that when we become aware of the loss of nature or contact with nature in our lives, we thirst for more.

    Thanks for the compliments as well.