40 Birds of Lent: Water

Barrows Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye

By Laurel Dykstra

I woke up this morning humming:

Water heals our bodies
Water heals our souls
When we go down, down to the water
In the water we are whole.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck

The song I learned in water ceremonies at Standing Rock, is the chorus of Coco Love Alcorn’s song The River. It’s not so surprising that these were the words in my head as I spent the better part of yesterday morning singing them outside the gates of Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal—the intended shoreline destination for transferring Tar Sands bitumen from the proposed Trans-mountain expansion pipeline project to ocean-going tankers. Beside the water of the Burrard Inlet on unceded Coast Salish Territory we sang as trees were limbed and cut in anticipation of a tunnel through the mountain.

Surf Scoters

Surf Scoters

The gas company and those of us resisting its project are operating with a sense of urgency. The Marine Terminal is adjacent to an Important Bird Area that is globally significance for Western Grebes, Barrow’s Goldeneye and Surf Scoters and a Conservation Area important for migratory songbirds. The National Energy Board has said that Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act any tree cutting must happen before the official start of nesting season March 26 or be delayed until songbirds leave the nest in August. So we sing, we pray and we stand in the way.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Like many struggles in the world right now, this is about are about Indigenous-led access to and protection of water—clean drinking water, animal habitat, coastlines.

Black Oystercatcher

Black Oystercatcher

For me pretty consistently walking by the water—stream, ocean, lake; to hear water flow, feel the rain on my face, to see the way the light moves and reflects, to smell the water. Is an avenue to calm, my shoulders lower, I breathe more deeply. I am accompanied.

Double Crested Cormorant

Double-Crested Cormorant

The birds in this week’s blog were seen by the waters of the Salish Sea, the Burrard Inlet and Beaver Lake between accompanying community members through a cancer surgery, a tenancy hearing and an arrest.

Glaucous-winged Gull

Glaucous-Winged Gull

Water heals our bodies
Water heals our souls
When we go down, down to the water
In the water we are whole.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

The 40 Birds of Lent documents Laurel Dykstra’s Lenten practice of daily prayer outdoors noticing birds in the lower Fraser watershed. Laurel is the gathering priest of Salal + Cedar, Coast Salish Territories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s