I see you friends, and I know you have moments of feeling heavy and at times, discouraged. This moment where the Earth is asking us to be part of a collective healing, can be overwhelming and at times a lot to hold. I see so many passionate, humble, and knowledgeable conservation partners and volunteers across our watershed. Their sense of urgency can be heard through their excitement around creative solutions, in the weariness of their voices after a long week, and it can be seen on the ground through the progress we’ve made so far towards a healthy James River. The knowing of how much more needs to be done is always present, pushing us forward, but it can leave you wondering on those overwhelming days, ‘Is it enough?” We are just a moment in this great healing and we may not be around to see the benefits down the road. All we have is this moment, to play our small role towards this big moment and believe that we are indeed enough, because what else can we do?
The healing of our Earth and our Rivers, will take each of us bringing our greatest gifts to the table and helping others to see and lean into their gifts. In order to shine our brightest, we must find rest and practice self-care, possibly even more than before. Fortunately, many of you in conservation work, got here because of your love for the natural world, so you know the James River and its thousands of miles of tributaries provide us with endless opportunities for moments of joy and healing. My invitation to my peers who are fighting for clean water, environmental justice, improved habitat for our animal friends, and clean air, is to continue to hold that sense of urgency and passion, but to also prioritize creating space for yourself to rest and heal. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Our Rivers, our Communities, and our Earth need you.
On your next day off, take yourself somewhere outside that you love! Preferably by the water, but anywhere will do. Let yourself be drawn to a good spot to sit and bring your awareness to something around you. Maybe it’s the river, a tree, a fish that just jumped out of the water, a mountain, a singing bird in the marsh, a kid playing on the banks…And write a ‘Thank You’ note from that something to yourself for the work you put in to healing our Rivers and the Earth. And then go enjoy it! Get your feet wet, hug that tree, bask in the sunset. You deserve it.