Are you thinking about water as much as I am?  Turning on the spigot and placing my hands in the flow, I’m aware of this luxury of good water–one that many people lack. We live on a watery planet, yet fresh water is rare–at only 3%, and two-thirds of that is frozen in glaciers (now melting).  Our freshwater ecosystems are home to some 100,000 species, and make up less than .01% of the surface area of Earth.  So please–during this time of urgent handwashing, turn off the water when you are scrubbing your hands with soap for 20 seconds. If you wash your hands nine times a day, you will save six gallons of water by turning off the tap! The fish will be grateful. (If you need a reminder on the proper technique, see this link to the CDC ).

To honor the gift of good water, I’ve penned a few poems these past couple weeks, inspired by nearby rivers that call to me to return–when I can.


Belly dancing river
Gyrates her hips
Flashes jeweled bangles
on rippling arms

Shake and shimmy
Fingers fly on castanets
Hands twirl whirlpools
where currents collide

Flings silver tresses
over gilded stones
Flares her lucent skirt
to the trilling of birds

river rapids

River Play

Cartwheel over rock
Sled down cascades
Chase riffles
Seesaw between
Whitewater and calm

Spin into eddies
Tickle your trout
Kick up heels
Seek all that is
Hop, skip and jump


Glassel is a term for a seaside pebble that is shiny when wet and dull when dry–from Robert Macfarlane’s book, Landmarks:


Rainbow of stonery
below pellucid waters
Crockery of river round
fired in nature’s kiln

Reach into ripples
Choose the mano rock
Jade green beauty
slippery to hold

Admire shining find
on a gleamy day
Sun and showers
lustrous, luminous

Place jewel on sand
Brilliance fades
in the drying
Dowdy, drab

One dip in water
Beauty restored
Elixir of eternal life
this pebble—a glassel!

Imnaha closeup of water

Inspired by a talk by Dr. Colin Thorne, Restoring the Dignity of Rivers:.

Dignity of Rivers

Give me dignity
For I am the river

Give me respect
Freshwater is my gift

Give me inalienable rights
For I am alive and feel

Give me your hands
Blessing with droplets

Live with reciprocity
Sustenance of water

You who have harmed me
Broken my wheel

Dammed, stilled, quelled
And diverted

Would you treat
Your mother this way?

Unshackle the chains
Take off this straitjacket

Connect me to my brethren
The living floodplain

Plant my denuded banks
With willows, dogwood and alders

Restore my dignity
I will restore yours


Sky Gardener

Kingfisher wings rake
cresting waves
Waves aerate
twinkled river
River hoes
tumbled stones
Stones pluck
peach of sunset
Sunset plants
seeds of new day
Day trellises
vines of hope
Hope roots our
bare feet
Feet tap toes to
beat of woodpecker
Woodpecker tills
decaying bark
Bark composts
pine chips
Pine bends to
tug of winds
Winds shake
perched birds
Birds fertilize air
scattering flight
Gardening the
sky and river

Wizard falls

Belted Kingfisher
Rising up after the dive! Photo: Charles Wheeler