We can give the gift of water

Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mildred Boesser

Living and Growing

"The rain is raining all around.

It falls on field and tree,

It falls on the umbrellas here

and on the ships at sea"

When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this poem, could he have known what we know now: In some countries, two out of three people have no access at all to safe, clean drinking water, and falling rain is almost unknown?

Water is a gift. Water has a voice. Water is music. Like all music, the variations are limitless: the lapping of waves on Sandy Beach, the crash of surf on Lena Beach, the thunder of the East Glacier waterfall, the soft rippling of the forest brook meandering among the willows along Duck Creek, the rhythmic beat of rain on the roof, the lulling melody of the Mendenhall River's quiet flow, the boom and crack of ice calving off the glacier. We seldom speak of seeing surf and waterfall and ripple. We listen, we hear its voice, its music.

We who have such an abundance of water, this necessity of life, we who hear the music every day and even wish sometimes it would just stop, need to remember what a gift we have. Christmas and Hanukkah are on the way, times for gift-giving. Perhaps instead of buying presents for ourselves we can invest in drought-resistant seeds that grow without plentiful water, or community wells from which everyone can drink clean water, or water systems that can provide basic sanitation and be sustained when rain is seldom on the horizon.

There are organizations geared to this kind of gift-giving. Many of them are faith-based, so look to your own faith community or service group for suggestions.

Heifer International has a program worth looking into, just one of many. Money is given for a specific project in a place of your choice and usually a card is available to send to the person to whom you offer this gift.

The rain may not be "falling all around" the world, but the miracle is that there are ways in which to bring water to the surface. It only takes loving hearts open wide to the possibility of making the miracle happen. Do we have the will to give this gift or do we keep the music to ourselves?

We Americans are so wealthy in every way, but here I speak only of water.

• Mildred Boesser is a member of the congregation of St. Brendan's Episcopal Church.



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