The farewells were difficult, to say the least, after all we shared together along the way of our pilgrimage. I suppose we’re each in a bit of separation sadness today. And then the long processing, the “taking in,” the absorption of what just happened to our lives.

I intend to share some reflections on this blog as I do my own integration. So stay tuned. We would still like to post some photos as well, now that we are back at our computers with some time to put the story together.

Here in Wisconsin, we are facing a challenge to our precious Lake Superior watershed because of a proposed open pit iron ore mine that a coal mining company wants to open up, a deep wound planned for the Penokee Hills in our North Woods. This morning, Mike Wiggins, Jr., chairperson for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, wrote this on his Facebook page about the waters of the Penokees:

“Natures Intent. The Penokee Mountain and Copper Falls rock and stone beds are at work right now. They deliver water quickly, like a lightning flash, downstream. The same rocks that currently deliver mystery, speed, rapids and magnificent Falls are also the same ones that will deliver the wrath and guts of a Mountain mine downstream. Like a lightning flash……Drinking downstream are Lake Superior, humans, frogs and wild rice. Smooth rocks don’t keep water around and soak up poison. We do. Alter the land you alter the people but alter the land you also alter the rocks. Right now the water runs the way nature intended and those rocks are in good spirits and in the rocks are good spirits delivering water.”

I think of the Athabasca River, this force of nature flowing through Alberta from the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca, the Mackenzie watershed, and ultimately to the Arctic Ocean. I think of my shock when we arrived at the headwaters at the Columbia Icefield, a place I had been 45 years before, to see how dramatically the glacier was disappearing. A recording for visitors even spoke of climate change and how one day the glacier will be gone, and with it, I fully realized, the mighty Athabasca.

And I thought of the beautiful water rushing towards Ft. McMurray and to the oil sands industrial region where it becomes poison for all living things, and my heart broke at the words of Mike Wiggins…because we humans seem to have forgotten how to live with the “good spirits” of this Earth, those spirits that have given us so much, who are our real source of life – in a way that fossil fuel energy never, ever will be.

So below are some pics of the receding glacier. Cherish what we have. Mourn what we are losing. Resolve to restore our relations with the good spirits of our waters and lands.

When I was here 45 years ago, where my fellow pilgrims are standing was buried in glacial ice.

When I was here 45 years ago, where my fellow pilgrims are standing was buried in glacial ice.

 

Heather, my fellow pilgrim, where the ice was just 3 decades ago.

Heather, my fellow pilgrim, where the ice was just 3 decades ago.

 

And just 2 decades ago.

And just 2 decades ago.

 

The Columbia Icefield glacier - going, going, soon to be gone.

The Columbia Icefield glacier – going, going, soon to be gone.

 

 

About the author: Margaret Swedish believes that we must not only live differently, we must be differently. More about Margaret’s work is available on her website Spirituality and Ecological Hope – http://www.ecologicalhope.org

2 comments… add one
  • Joan O'Keefe

    thanks for the sharing, the words, the images they bring to mind and now the photos.

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