How can we not feel an affinity for water, for it is what we are. For me, spirit is most evident in bodies of water; Surfing has been feeding my soul for many years, and as my body becomes more timid with age, the simple act of walking along streams and rivers has allowed me to continue this powerful connection with the fluid element. My book, Lagunitas Creek, Hope in Restoration, was the culmination of many such explorations. I learned the creek through three forms:
Art • Science • Poetry
Creates a visual intimacy. Through showing the creek in its best light I try to stimulate a desire in people to fight for the beauty they see.
Promotes an understanding of the functions of nature’s body. Greg Andrew from the Marin Municipal Water District writes about the restoration efforts for one creature, the coho salmon.
Lets knowing sneak in the back door and tap you on the shoulder, then gently walk away while giggling. Poet Albert DeSilver and I took eighteen 8th grade students from Lagunitas School on walks along the creek to see coho salmon spawning and to inspire poems such as this one by Amanda Davis:
Slippery colors layer the earth’s shallow streams.
A protection shield hiding the creek from harm
A lonely leaf
Bright with life
Ripples oust from the lonely
A soft warm sound
Mother earth’s lullaby
Floating, an angel reposing on heavens blanket
A shadow of mist
The intemperate chill knowing life will change
The beauty always changes
But we can only hope.
I believe knowing a place intimately can translate into love, then to personal responsibility, then to action. And through love hope arises.
I often find myself frozen in the face of all the misdeeds of our species. I needed to do this project to inspire hope in myself. But more than anything children need to feel hope in the future of this planet, and to feel that they have the ability to participate in the larger world. Being included in a real book gives the experience and confidence that they too have a voice.
Lagunitas Creek is one of the most important spawning grounds for coho salmon on the California coast; roughly 10 to15 percent of the wild coho population in California spawn here. The creek is much healthier than in previous years. The efforts of many organizations and individuals are having a positive effect, and though it is only my own personal observation, I feel hopeful.
Walnut brown and crimson hawks soar above,
Blood stains in the ever blue sky.
Sky-blue clear stream.
The watery mirror ties both fish and bird together,
Light and darkness.
The snowy egret glides,
Skimming the white furry tips of the coyote bush.
Shadows dance across the back of a salmon, its final journey.
Coho shining with all colors,
Each a new beginning.
Go to www.toddpickering.com for more information.