Drummers and banners dotted the pathway leading to the hillside overlooking Redwood City’s salt ponds, where we gathered around a cheerful hand-made boat destined to be part of the ceremony.
Making our Offerrings to the Wetlands
We’d come to reclaim a vision of the wetlands once present here, a vision for the same kind of transformation that has succeeded in restoring thousands of acres of wetlands along the shore of the Bay. Sites in Newark, in Alviso, in Petaluma and elsewhere form a necklace of wetlands, affording habitat for migrating birds and other wetlands life forms. Human beings, too, enjoy canoeing, walking, birding, kite flying at those sites.
Looking northwest, the hibernating wetlands sparkled with bright white salt; what some have called a wasteland can emerge as it has elsewhere along the Bay, and life WILL return.
Salt ponds that Cargill sold in 2002 became a place of refuge as the levees were breached, and the mud of the bay brought with it the seeds of returning life. Now, when you canoe along the shoreline, cat-tails and tules rustle overhead; hidden nesting sites bustle with activity and melody. It’s a visible a visible reminder that people with strong intention and deep caring have the power and the pleasure to return balance to the life we share with all beings. Helplessness gives way to hope that we can make a difference.
Revisioning the Wetlands
How do we begin? We tap into the deep will to survive that exists in all creatures. The will to live is everywhere around us, and all of nature takes part in the invitation to procreate. Nature weaves a beautiful design, one life form calling to another to sustain life on earth. We’ve come to take part in that intricate dance of life.
Our songs, our open hearts, our dancing feet are part of the seduction we’re extending to life returning. We welcome the lives that have long shared the wetlands at the edge of the Bay near Redwood City; we begin to dissolve the barriers to life returning.
We’ve come to restore and take part in the web of life. We’re here to honor and celebrate the plant people, the fish people, the animal and bird people, welcome their return to their homes in wetlands, where Earth and Water intertwine, where the water surges toward the shore, and returns to the Ocean.
We honored first the elemental powers that sustain all life – calling on air, fire, water, and earth. Susie reminded us of the Bay’s beginning. Cynthia shared a traditional blessing of the land. Inspired by a traditional Haida story of raven discovering the first people emerging from a clam shell, Carol created a story of life emerging in the complexity of cultures coming together at the edge of San Francisco Bay.
Taking up rattles, we joined the drumming of Eric, Jonathan, Penny, and Patter in waking the earth, heard Herb’s delicate flute calling the birds. We began to envision a restored wetlands. Singing out our invitations to the birds, the fish, the animals, to the muddy waters full of seeds and pregnant with new life, we danced, our feet waking the earth and opening our hearts. Weaving the songs of life, we let them intertwine, just as they will be involved with one another when they return.
Offerings Placed on the Boat
We gravitated toward the small gaily decorated wicker boat in the center of our circle, and filled it with welcoming feasts from the natural world. Maya blessed the boat; Robin reminded us of the pond salt dissolving as we placed small fragments among the offerings. Walking toward the shore, Peggy and Holly led songs honoring the earth and the water; Eric carried the boat to the water’s edge, and we sent our invitations to the waiting World of Spirit.
The Procession to the Water
Over the next months, we’ll be engaging with life at the wetlands that have already been restored – canoeing, birding, using magnifying glasses and walking on paths along the water. We’ll be renewing relationships with the gifts of life on the edge. We’ll re-member our places in the web of life – filling our eyes and hearts with beauty, pleasure, compassion and care for the fragile existence of which we are a part.
Doing this, we’ll prepare the way for the return of these precious life forms to the Redwood City wetlands area. Our own capacity to envision the renewal of their habitat will offer them a filament of light to travel back to their homes here.
The Boat Launched on the Salt Ponds
Enjoy your sense experiences at the edges of the Bay to expand your vision of the Redwood City Wetlands returning. Dream it. Bring it about.
The Salt Ponds