The last few weeks it has been so amazingly faith-restoring to watch the vibrant, lush green return to our sweet California lands. It has been so disturbingly dry and scary-brittle-gold for so long. The children especially have been gushing with exuberant gratitude.
Driving our 30 minute stretch to their school yesterday, Ezra Star (6)yelled out: “LOOK you guys!! It’s really, really GREEN!! Our Mother Earth is drinking!!” And after we drove along in silent appreciation for these life-giving rains, Arayla (9) commented: “It’s a beautiful part of life, when you’re waiting and waiting for something to come, and then it comes?” Ezra asked: “Like how?” Arayla continued: You know? Like these rains? They bring us faith, because we wanted them, and the Earth wanted them, and now they are here.”
I asked her: “What else in life is like this?” She answered: “Like how I felt, and you felt when my body healed, after it was so, so sick? Or like how I’ll feel someday when I finally get a dog, after wanting one for soooo long? Or,” she added, winking at me, “maybe how you’ll feel when your beloved man finally comes? Mama~ wouldn't that be like the rains coming, after such a long, dry, thirsty time?” This made me smile at her, and then rest in quiet appreciation for her gift in making connections and capacity for receiving teachings from the natural rhythms of life.
One of the few ways this drought has actually blessed us has been the way it has made us all, and maybe especially the youngest generations, so acutely aware of the preciousness of WATER. I had the joy and honor of visiting my daughter Arayla’s mixed 3rd/4th/5th grade class at her school in West Petaluma last month, and teaching them in the ancient Huichol tradition of making Spirit Arrows, as a ceremonial way of extending prayer.
We used our sticks and yarn and feathers to weave our intentions and prayers, creating sacred objects through which we could offer our deep prayers to Spirit. I explained how we could pray for our personal lives and challenges, for our extended families and communities, and for our world and Mother Earth.
After all the arrows were crafted we went around the circle and all the children shared, vulnerably, what prayers they had woven into their arrow. Many of them had sibling prayers: "I pray to be kinder to my little sister." "I pray to not scare my little brother anymore and make him cry." Or other, tender family prayers: "I pray for my parents to stop fighting." More than half the children (aged 8-10) had added a special thread for healing the drought, praying sincerely for rains to return to our lands; fill our wells, bless our rivers and streams. This touched me so....
It’s dawn now and my children have been up for over an hour, reveling in the sound of the storm~ the great abundant rains and winds swaying our house, quenching the thirst of the Mother. They came to my bed in the middle of the night when the howling storm made them each leap from their beds and come running and diving under my warm covers, into my safe embrace.
Our two little bunnies have been brought inside from their hutch, protected from the torrential downpours that will also keep the kids home from school today. Arayla says, sighing: “Now I can actually enjoy the storm, knowing my bunnies are safe.” We have books to read and firewood to build a fire and keep us cozy. We have plentiful food and water. How can we be so blessed? The sounds of the water abundantly streaming down the streets, pouring from the sky, is a great gift to receive. My heart goes to all who are less fortunate, praying all are somehow staying dry and safe and warm.
May every true thirst within us be quenched. Every true thirst.