FOR THE LOVE OF WATER
by JoAnne Dodgson
mentor at the Wise Woman University
“It was the prairie dogs,” she smiled, looking over her lush vegetable garden. During the hot desert summer, Sofia had been concerned her plants wouldn't survive. She didn't own rights to the fresh water streaming by in the acequia, the irrigation ditch leading from the river to her neighbors' fields. Looking around the land, still trying to piece together her story, I silently wrestled with the idea that somebody owned the water. And what had the prairie dogs done?
A chattering flock of chickens and two woolly sheep watched attentively as Sofia and I gingerly walked through the garden. We admired the leafy greens, the diverse shapes, colors and stages of the growth of the vegetables. Sofia told me how feeding her baby these homegrown foods was so important to her. “It was the prairie dogs who brought the water, ” she said with delight.
Now not everybody smiles when they talk about prairie dogs. There are those who go to great lengths and use quite horrific means to get prairie dogs off their lands. Because prairie dogs like to live in large extended family groups. And prairie dogs love to dig.
They are gifted architects of underground tunnels, instinctively building extensive networks of burrows for their homes. Many people don't want these wild animals disturbing their gardens or manicured lawns.
On a hot summer day in the desert valley, the acequia gate was opened and the river water flowed into the irrigation ditch which usually by-passed Sofia's land.
Unexpectedly, because of the prairie dogs, the water had a new underground network of pathways to follow. Water seeped into these hidden tunnels and found it's way to the very roots dug into the soils in Sofia's garden. The water nourished the plants inviting them to flourish and provide abundant food for Sofia and her family, for the chickens and rabbits too.
Prairie dogs made way for the water by naturally living in connection with the soils of the earth. And the water passionately flowed, touching and nourishing life along it's way. Precious gifts and creative collaborations come alive when we stop fearing and warring against “the bad guys,” even the little furry ones.
Cherishing the earth. Loving the water. Celebrating the magic. Trusting the natural flow. How beautiful life can be.