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  • Writer's pictureDan Robinson

SO many questions... Can we talk?

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

This morning, I stopped briefly by Keshena Falls on the Menominee Nation Reservation, along the Wolf River northwest of the Bay of Green Bay about an hour’s drive. The prediction for the day was a little warm for this time of year, with the high getting into the mid-40’s, but snow was gently falling when I pulled my car over just short of the bridge crossing the river.

The water is typically high this time of year from the winter snow melt, and the Falls were full and energetic, white foam bouncing off the large boulders at the foot of the Falls. I didn’t stay long with the snow and the cold wind blowing, but in those brief moments, I felt a peace beginning to grow inside me. I confess, unfortunately, that it never got a permanent foothold, as the schedule for the day kept running through my mind. Still, I kept a piece of it with me to carry through the day.

The Falls flow through the Menominee ancestral lands, and I'm just a visitor here. But members of the Nation have also welcomed me and other visitors to join in water walks that have started at this very spot. Beginning with a moment of ceremony and then proceeding for a couple of miles along the main road into Keshena, these walks remind us that caring for the water is a sacred and necessary duty, and strengthen us in that work.

Each time I come to Keshena Falls, then, I experience both the gift of this sacred place and water, and the responsibility of caring for the water.

I usually experience the same rhythm and flow whenever I visit the Great Lakes or the rivers and streams in the watershed... gift and responsibility, thankfulness and wonder. And the wonder can take a lot of different forms.

This morning’s wondering was literally wondering... reflecting on the questions that prompt this Great Lakes Spirituality Project – Why do I experience peace, a sense of connection with something greater than myself when I’m by these waters? Do others experience the same thing, and if so, are those experiences similar. If not, why not? What do these waters say about the world and how it came to be? What do they say about me and my place in that world? What are my responsibilities in caring for these waters and all that depend on them, including myself, my family, my friends, my community?

More to the point, do the Great Lakes and their watershed have unique answers to these questions, and what do those answers look like?

For me, and maybe for others, those answers are caught up in how I understand God, the Divine, the Ground of all being, the Great Mystery, the Creator... whatever phrase you choose to use for Ultimate Reality. For some, those answers may have nothing to do with any of that, or if they do, the answers might not be something I would recognize.

But that’s the point of this Project... to start the conversation, to see where it leads, and to discover another avenue for developing our connection to and responsibility for the Great Lakes and their watershed.

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