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Friday, October 21, 2016

Speaking, singing, and praying to rivers

A few days ago the newspaper ran a story about a group of Native Americans who were traveling the 405 mile length of the Potomac River to spiritually thank the river and to wish for the health and recovery from the ills brought upon the waters by humans. The ritual involves songs, speech, and prayers and carrying a container of water from the relatively clean section at the headwaters and pouring the water into the more troubled lower part to "give the river a taste of itself."

I have spent time on all sections of the Potomac but have never thought to speak to it. While near some small streams which ultimately empty into the river, I've sometimes felt they were speaking to me, the often described "babbling brooks", but I've never been able to understand any words. The river has given a lot to me, wonderful hours of fishing, boating, and kayaking, and maybe it would be a good idea to thank the waters myself and hope that it understands. Maybe the river communicates best with the Native Americans in their language. I certainly wish them the best in their river ritual because the Potomac can use any help it can get, spiritual as well as scientific.

The Potomac is one of the rivers I know best. The other two are the Patuxent and the Patapsco, and I spent yesterday afternoon fishing for trout on the Patapsco. The trout were unwilling but the bluegill were receptive so I had an enjoyable day, and next time I'll try to remember to give thanks.

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