The air is brisk, and the sun is shining against an artic blue sky on an autumn day here in Michigan. The corn is in the kitchen hanging on racks to dry as I open my finish setting my table for a salon. There is plenty of room for you at the table. I have made elderberry muffins and lemon fantasy tea. It is my own blend of lemongrass, orange mint, lemon balm, and lemon verbena. Things may get a bit tart today.
Image: Shruthi Gowda
The placemats are cerulean blue and there is a beautiful arrangement of rosemary, cedar, lavender, flowers, and hyssop sprigs in the centerpiece. The tea is hot and the scent of orange thyme is filling the room.
*sits at table with pot in her lap to shell beans. This is an informal affair*
Right now, there are unprecedented milestones and miracles happening at Standing Rock and in Michigan. The stories that come from these times will be whispered and retold for many generations. We are the new ancestors, you know. What we do during these times will help to nurture the coming ones who will learn.
Being from Michigan, the water and I have a deep relationship. I can no more breathe the scent of the lakes as a non-spiritual experience than I could not openly laugh when someone tells me that all conjure comes from Ireland and Chicago. That relationship has fed my soul, aided my works, and healed my spirit. Water is life. It has been my life, and will always sustain my life.
It is for that cause that I feel compelled to host this little salon today on the fifth of October. This is the day before the birthday of my deceased Dad, and I believe that the tears that fall as I type this are just as connected to the “over-spirits” of all Waters as the most expensive Evian, or the cheapest bottle from the dollar store down the street. All of it has me buoyed up in my emotions, and all of it can heal and sustain.
*shells a speckled butterbean pod, and drops three in the pot*
Right now, the forces of destruction in this world are intensifying their assaults against humanity by poisoning and imperiling one of the most intimate connections we have to the soul of creation.
Image Kenya Coviak, all rights reserved
In Flint, Michigan, a sort of evil epic saga of greed, corruption, and vicious opportunism led to the destruction of the systems that conveyed life giving waters to the people of this state. In another area, under our lakes, there is a great pipeline that sleeps like a beast waiting to strike. It’s ancient stays and bonds awaiting release and failure so that it can lay waste and destruction to the life above and below those freshwater waves unchecked. Wells of radioactive waste lie in wells inland, and on shoreline of our freshwater seas, catastrophes ticking away like bombs of devastation. In the the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, a monster of a pipeline is threatening to transport possible death through sacred soils and under water bodies that have sustained them for generations.
What do each of these things have in common? They are all outrages against us as humans, and against every plant, animal, and spirit in the areas in which they take place. They threaten not only the physical landscapes, but the psychic energy and systems of the spiritual essences that these flows and bodies contain and share with us. In other words, they are violent attacks against the very souls of creation that we live in harmony (we wish) with as we survive and pray to our respective systems of belief.
*Teapot sends up a bubble from nowhere*
I think often of my daughter and her future these days. Will she live in a world that has the first generation of young adults that cannot trust the seeds they plant or the water that grows them? Exactly how long of a timetable does she have before every drop is privatized. Will there be a world in which her gathering water in a bowl for her aloe plant will lead to a knock on the door by police for illegal collection of rainwater? Will she have to pay for the safe water not contaminated by heavy metals to water her seedlings? Hell, will there even BE seedlings to plant? Will there still be Michigan Okra?
Image: Kenya Coviak, all rights reserved
I look at the sky, and know that somewhere, right now, there are Water Protectors fighting for my future. I look at the sky and know that here in Michigan, there are brave folks who are petitioning, holding rallies, and are on the front line to remedy Flint and keep it from happening again. I see the sun and feel the wind on my face and smell the rain and the scent of poplar and know that no matter what they do, they will face opposition in the name of greed and ambition.
Image: Kenya Coviak, all rights reserved
People have many relationships with water that we take for granted as always being there. The rite of baptism, ritual washing, and purification. All these rely on water. What happens when all the water is defiled? What happens when it is not a living thing anymore?
When we sing water songs, or when certain cultures sing Water Songs, almost universally there is an awareness of the majesty of it. The mysteries of the deep and the faint babbling of the brooks seem to sing to us of faraway places and the times when we were not so distant from our beginnings. We recharge in those places. We tell myths and creation stories about it in many cultures. And some of us have familial stories about our animal that we are related to that lives in the water and the land. (I am not allowed to further into this publicly)
*Looks at photo of Dad and remembers he needs a cup of McDonald’s coffee by his picture. Pours you another cup of tea and offers you a peach tart now that your muffin is gone*
I mean, really. This has gotten way out of the land of basic business chicanery and ventured into the obscene. It is an absurd drama to watch, as politicians bargain with corporations as they both condemn the pools, rivers, and lakes to destruction. Fracking, drilling, subsidized theft by large conglomerates that obtain water rights of small communities over the residents, the list of infractions is endless. What do they think is going to happen here?
*Teapot has now cracked, sending one long tear of golden fluid down the side*
What exactly do they propose we do when all the waters are dead and dying in the future?
When it comes time to wash the babies in the waters to bless them, what shall we use? Shall we use Gatorade? Shall we use some sort of lotion? Will we have to call the “Culligan Man” to bring over a special delivery?
When the Dead have their sacred rites performed, what then? Will we try to consecrate hand sanitizer? Or will we use frack polluted waters for purification? When there are water initiations by the other faiths in their waters, what shall they do, put on wet suits?
There is no magic purifier pill. There is no magic additive that will restore the fish and the frogs and the shellfish to their ancient states once they have been poisoned. It takes generations for them to recover, if they do. GENERATIONS.
Which begs the question.
How many generations do we have left to restore what has already been lost?
*throws bean husks in compost plate to put into garden. Gives you a small paper bag of pecan/lavender cookies to go, and puts a small bottle of Potawatomi beans in your hand*
Thank you for coming today. It is not often that I open my salon for just you and me. So I hope you enjoyed it. Do come again. Be sure remember to scatter those seeds. You never know where they will take root.