Water Gifts Walk: giving back to the source

Summer is here and what more is there to do than thank the waters in our lives and bodies.

June 6th marked the 100in1Day festival in Toronto where locals left their individual turfs to co-create over 100 'urban interventions' to re-make the city into a home.

One day everyday could be like 100in1Day.

Great Lakes Commons has been organizing events in Toronto for a few months and we were overdue for an outside activity. We had talked about how Great Lakes Commons combines water governance with gratitude, water science with sacredness, and water conservation with (de)commodification. 

But what does a 2-hour water-commoning event look like? Thanks to the collective efforts of a few, here's what we designed:

  • a warm welcome to ground us in common purpose (see Tanya's words below)

  • a water ceremony (with song) to honour the sacredness and circle of water

  • a meandering walk through industrial lands that have been repaired into a thriving home for plant and animal life

  • a meditation to feel the water and love running through us 

  • offerings left behind with leaf-shaped good wishes for the water

  • a shared reading of the Great Lakes Commons Charter, poetry (see below), and other thoughtful words

  • a climb to a lookout spot for shared food and celebration

We hope to host another outdoor activity this summer so join our mailing list for updates and invites. 

Miyari! Good morning!

On behalf of the organizers of this event and my fellow enthusiasts of the Wonscotonach (Don) River and the great lakes commons, I warmly welcome you to this water celebration. 

I wish to acknowledge and honour the Anishinabe, Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Mississauga and Metis ancestors and ancestral territories where we are gathered today. These nations were the original caretakers of the waters and lands of this region and as such their memories, stories and lifeways are embedded in these landscapes, and continue to be embodied through their living descendants, and through all of us who share the responsibility of protecting and celebrating the sacred earth that nourishes us in so many ways. 

In particular, it is the responsibility of our present generations to maintain healthy and balanced relationships with the lands, waters and animal and plant relations to ensure that our forthcoming generations also have nutritious and plentiful food to eat, safe water to drink and enjoy and vibrant natural landscapes with which they can feel a sense of deep connectivity.

The best ways to celebrate the immense value and sacred gift that water holds within our lives and larger worlds as natural beings is to learn her teachings and to come into ceremony with water and all of her attributes. I invite you all to join us today in reflecting on the gifts of life, ecological and spiritual renewal, continuity, serenity, beauty, transformation, purification and healing that watersheds such as the Don River system provide to each our lives and to every being in this area. 

Thank you, tenki


Amy's spoken word peice

In the Bosom of Waters

Branches of streams
A flash of light aroused
A mere word of grace
In the dim chambers of
My first haven.

In the bosom of waters
Have I since breathed
To light, carried by
Healing streams that gave
My first tears of joy or fear.

Your waters in me, make
Solitude drown or flee
In your bosom, let me rain
On the phantom streams
Of your forgotten deserts.

The scorched earth slipping
Through tears of joy or fear
This time, let me weep 
If only to help heal 
Again, the womb's branches. 

-- Livia B.