Water is Life

During this giving season, I recall the greatest gifts I ever received from my herb teachers were the lessons of mindfulness and gratitude. Mindfulness and gratitude go hand in hand. One inevitably leads to the other. To think and feel deeply in the understanding of how our actions or inaction affect other people as well as all living beings on this planet is mindfulness. Once this is understood, the connection between ourselves and Nature become apparent. So deeply ingrained into our psyche was this lesson that we found every outing in Nature to be an experience in gratitude. We gave thanks to the trees for giving us oxygen and medicine. We gave thanks to the plants for giving us food and medicine. We gave thanks to everything from the pollinators to the minute organisms living in the soil that help our food and medicine to grow. Most of all we gave thanks to the waters that sustain us all. Water is life. It’s one of the first vital things we come to know as human beings in the womb.

As an herbalist, I am a steward of the Earth. My deep and undying love for this planet has instilled in me a great sense of responsibility to the sustainability of our Mother Earth and her natural resources. Much like the Native Americans, who are also herbalists, we understand the importance of clean water for every living being on this planet. The importance of clean water for our continued existence is vital and not to be underestimated.

I’d like to turn our attention toward the water at this time.

I remember an incident back in the early ‘80’s on a hot summer day at the flea market. You could literally see the waves of heat rising up off the black asphalt. Back then we didn’t have the option of bottled water and knowing full well that a fountain soda would not quench my thirst I blurted out the words, “I bet if I set up a table right here I could sell ice water for a buck a cup and probably get rich.” This very statement earned me a badge that day. Everyone around me looked as if I said something so unbelievable that it hurt their ears and they were suddenly concerned about my mental state. Sell WATER? Unheard of, no one will pay you for a cup of water. Period. Utter nonsense. My, how times have changed. Suffice to say if I’d taken the idea and ran with it, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this.

What seemed ludicrous to everyone around me, seemed perfectly realistic to me. There has always been this inherent knowing inside of me that water is the most precious gift the Earth has given us. This was reaffirmed during a day long trip in the Sedona desert many years later with herb school. I found that it’s nearly impossible to carry enough water on your person to spend several hours in the hot desert sun. At least that was mine and a dozen other herbalists experience that day. I’m pretty sure this was part of the lesson plan.

In most areas of the United States it is taken for granted that you can simply turn on the tap and expect clean clear water to pour forth in abundance. We use water for everything from washing our face to flushing our toilet and cleaning our houses. Americans water their lawns, wash their cars, shower on a daily basis without a second thought given to where that water came from, how much is being used, or where it’s going to. I call this mindlessness. We as humans tend to fall into this state on a regular basis as long as nothing comes along to disrupt our flow, so to speak. It’s only when something so vitally important becomes unavailable or undrinkable that we stand up and say hey! What happened? When it’s too late.

Water Security?

For some people, security is found in the fact that almost everywhere you go there is bottled water for sale. Cases and cases line the grocery store shelves. From convenience stores to big box stores, bottled water is everywhere.

Here are a few facts regarding bottled water that one should be mindful of.

  1. The production of water bottles uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and it takes three times the water to make the bottle as it does to fill it; and that doesn’t account for the transportation and disposal.
  2. The U.S. drank 9 billion bottles of water in 2008, at an average of 30 gallons per person. More than milk and beer believe it or not.
  3. Tap water is approximately 560 times cheaper than bottled water and a lot of that bottled water admittedly comes from a tap. The bottling companies are basically selling convenience and have had to admit in many instances their water comes from a public water source. When you see PWS on the label that’s what it means, there is nothing special about the water.
  4. Tap water is regulated by the EPA for contaminants, bottled water is not. Despite the bad rap that tap water got from the bottled water industry, scientific testing proved bottled was no safer than tap depending on where you live of course. The residents of Flint Michigan would not agree.
  5. Of the 30 billion plastic water bottles sold in the United States in 2005, only 12 percent were recycled. According to Doug James, a professor of computer science at Cornell University and a recycling advocate, that left 25 billion bottles “landfilled, littered or incinerated.”
  6. Recycled plastic bottles can only be re-used in non-food products.
  7. In reality, there is no way for bottled water to be as environmentally responsible as tap water.

Currently water is becoming the topic of discussion all over the World. These days many people are experiencing water issues for one reason or another. Whether it be drought or contamination, people are starting to wake up to the truth that clean water can no longer be taken for granted. In fact many are waking to the truth that water should be protected. Our brave brothers and sisters across this nation who stand in protest of pipelines deserve our utmost respect and gratitude at this time. They truly are water protectors and as we all know, pipelines leak. If you’ve ever spilled oil on the Earth or in the ocean you know it can’t be thoroughly cleaned up.

Where has all the moisture gone?

As I sit here in the third week of November wondering where the moisture is, I turn my thoughts to the spring flowers. The many plants & herbs that won’t be growing due to lack of moisture. Although many commuters are happy with no snow, the impacts will be far reaching for the Nature lovers and the wildlife in the area. It seems the Earth is changing. There is either too much water with unprecedented flooding in some places or too little elsewhere. 70% of the water in the U.S. is used for farming. Consider that most of our food is grown in California where the land is considered desert. If anything has changed the lay of the land in this country it’s farming and agriculture. The Ogallala aquifer lies underneath 8 states and is estimated to be the size of 9 Lake Eries. Per the documentary titled Watermark, as of 2013 we have already used 2-3 of those lakes. This is not only because of replenishment issues but also because we in America are using more water than we ever have before. Parts of this aquifer are in a rapid state of decline. Perhaps it’s time to rethink our processes when it comes to water use. We can all start on a small scale by using water filters and re-usable drinking containers as opposed to bottled water. Other ways to conserve water include:

Taking shorter showers

Not filling the sink up all the way when washing dishes

Don’t leave the water running unnecessarily for example when brushing your teeth

Re-use your gray water for watering plants

Fix your leaky faucets

Clean your sidewalks and driveways with a broom, not the hose

Run the washing machine and dishwasher only when you have a full load

Now seems like a good time to start.

No matter what holiday you celebrate in December, I encourage everyone this giving season to practice mindfulness and gratitude. Perhaps a New Year’s resolution. I don’t care who you are, you have an impact on others and if you are struggling with what to give this season, I have a suggestion. Give thanks. From the bottom of your heart, give thanks.

Mari Marques is a Certified Herbalist and owner of The Thymekeeper. For questions or more information contact: Mari at mugsyspad@aol.com or 719-439-7303. Mari is available for private consultation or private classes.

Spice up your holidays! Let’s get together and make some mulling spice bags for your holiday cider or other holiday recipes. We’ll talk about some different uses and medicinal benefits of the age old tradition of using spice bags. We’ll also have mulled wine and juice on hand for tasting. These spice bags make awesome inexpensive holiday gifts in addition to making the whole house smell seasonally delicious.

The Thymekeeper will be available on Sunday December 4th from 1:00-4:00 to help put yours together.  Suggested donation $10.00 per person. Spices will be available for purchase.

Where: The Thymekeeper 1870 County Road 31 Florissant, CO.












Leave a Reply