Letters to the Water

Performance : Écrire et lire à haute voix une lettre de reconnaissance pour une source d’eau près de chez vous.

Durée : Variable.

Équipement : Matériel d’écriture.

Localisation : Une source d’eau.

Emplacement : Près de chez vous.


“Letters to the Water” was created in light of the increasing number of threats to our water supply, including the one million gallons of mine wastewater that breached a wall at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, CO in the summer of 2015 and made its way along the San Juan River impacting the Navajo Nation, hundreds of farmers, and the entire local ecosystem. More recently and closer to home, the City of Montreal dumped nearly 5 billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River over a four-day period this past November. These are just two of the untold number of human-created disasters impacting the planet’s water systems. It is within this context of environmental crisis that I created the initial Letters to the Water as part of the performance event LÀ this past August. While sitting in the brook at the center of the Parc Des Prairies, I read and reread over 30 letters of appreciation for and to water, which I had collected from friends and strangers in the weeks preceding the event. One letter read in part: “I offer my gratitude to the water here – with intentions grounded in respect for the authority and implacable force that water is without even trying. Through communion with this water I am restored, washed clean to begin again.” Another read: “My Celtic soul holds centuries of veneration for you. Your mysterious aura draws me in a spiritual wonderment so I am calmest and happiest when near you. It is tragic how mankind does not respect and celebrate you this way, in this day in age. We are trying to control you, deplete you, and we poison you. I am profoundly sorry.” And yet a third read: “Chère eau, je t’aime parce que tu es mon symbole de résistance. Tu t’infiltres, tu t’enrages, tu te calmes, tu résistes, tu aspires, tu propulses, tu nourris, tu abreuves, tu nettoies, tu transportes, tu protèges, tu coules, tu tombes et tu t’élèves. Tu es puissante et indomptable, je t’aime.” I consider this work an extension of my mindfulness meditation practice and part of a larger body of work that explores how city-dwellers, including myself, may be re-enabled as responsible members of the living world by connecting more consciously with nature.