Protection in perpetuity for the only nature sanctuary in the heart of San Antonio.
“Water is life”Who can doubt it? Water is precious to all life: cool and soothing, or with hot minerals to heal, flowing and free, or frozen in place allowing us to ski or skate its surface with gleeful freedom of movement.In the Hill Country of Texas is a simple cabin where our family often visited. Night time meant to lie in the palpable, pitch black dark, soothing wearied eyes. In the thundering silence, the only sound was the simple gurgle and flow of Big Joshua Creek finding its way down the hill, splashing a few feet into the pond below before moving on to its unknown destination. Overpowered by the distractions of the day, in the silence, that simple sound finally rose to be heard, relaxing tense muscles, comforting eardrums and mind, so battered by the noise of modern life and its demands. This original music of Nature heals.Our ancestors in ancient indigenous and contemporary peoples alike naturally have sought out water to settle near it: streams, springs, rivers, lakes and the vast, deep, mysterious ocean. It is a practical need. We draw from it food, are washed clean of the grime of life, cooled from the heat of the sun. We built primitive rafts and canoes, and later, sophisticated vessels to create a faster way through forests and canyons, transporting goods, exploring new territories, fighting wars, escaping dangers for survival’s sake.But it is a spiritual need, also. We hunger for it, to know its beauty and be nurtured by its being. Even today, humans choose to build hideaways or pitch their tents near it as a place of healing. We have this need to rediscover the center of our beings, our original innocence born in water, our inner hearts that have been wounded, hardened for protection, or mysteriously overwhelmed by love and friendship, requiring the risk of intimacy and hurt, draining us until we are depleted. Our spirits recover, gather strength and clarity of vision for the challenges to come. We return to water as to very source of life itself, because life itself was born in water. It is the original amniotic fluid for every living being on Earth. To be near it is to experience again our own origins of life in the womb of our mothers, to begin life again.But at the seashore, the solid edge of land where we can see the life that dwells on it, meets the edge of the ocean, whose mysterious life and unseen creatures—some harmless and some threatening—dwell beneath the surface. We venture there with caution. Those who cannot swim dare not. Carl Jung and other psychologists say that, symbolically, the seashore is the boundary where our conscious life disappears into the unknown world of our unconscious life. We hunger to dive in, to know our deeper being, to discover the life within and integrate it into our conscious life. Standing ankle deep at the shore, we can know it lives and invites us to befriend it. But to visit those creatures of the deep, we need the proper underwater gear, and a guide to lead us. With these, we can experience that in these depths of water, too, is new life. In those depths, we can be born again in a deeper way. Vast is its truth.Water, this precious gift, is portrayed in paintings, in poems, in story, and in music. Below is a link to two performances of the tone poem, “The Moldau” or “The Vltava” by the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. Through its gift, we can experience water grow from trickling mountain springs into a wide, deep river—in imagination, if not in reality. Be present. Be immersed. Be healed. Be refreshed. Water is life.
Sr. Elizabeth Riebschlaeger, CCVI.
We invite you to find more information on Headwaters at Incarnate Word’s Facebook page.
On the header, Sr. Elizabeth Riebschlaeger in Indianola, Texas.