Just over four years ago, we created the Coalition for the Deschutes so the river would have a voice, so that it would be seen as more than an extension of urban and agricultural infrastructure, a utility to be tapped.
We can’t talk about restoring rivers without talking about how we all use them, from farming to recreation to household use. And so, I was drawn into Central Oregon “Water World.”
Discussions revolve around projects, policies, politics, often with conflicting narratives in a milieu of misinformation and mistrust.
To enter into Water World is to be drawn away from the river, diverted just as the river is diverted.
For me, it has meant willingly entering into a place of personal sorrow. But with that has come conversations and with conversations has come hope.
Hope that we will get to know our neighbors and hear each others’ stories.
Hope that we will share—farmer sharing water with farmer, all of us sharing water with the river.
Hope that we will work together for the common good.
I remind myself that in order to move forward, sometimes it is necessary to take a step back—to step back from the tensions, to step back from judgment—and to find a place of quietude.
I step back so that once again I can hear the song of the river and the whisper of my heart, and I remind myself that we are all our river’s people.
And so, I take the words of the poet Rumi to heart as he invites us to talk with each other:
“Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
~ by Gail Snyder