Start with the thirst
the deep well you have been forgetting,
ancient and ready to be soaked
without shame
the well your grandmothers dug for you
the reservoir carved and cared for
by the people your ancestors
your thirst is their faithfulness
undeterred from believing
there are no strangers here
in the same thirst
we are made and unmade
born and born again

Thirst is the thing
that remembers
who you are
before the land, the hard rock, your
body stiff and unyielding –
hungry for canyons, mountains,
oxbow lakes, whole oceans of whales
and sea lions, and even
the bitter stories of slave ships and refugees
refused at the shore –

The thirst can hold it all,
untellable tales of
water coming before the ground is ready
water rising without recourse
stories also of creation and construction
the pot boiling for tea, and dinner,
warm washcloths, and
the first starts of a seedling in the spring
the thirst tastes the air,
knows the sky, and the
rain before it comes, and
sets in motion
the leap off the ledge
of the dock
freedom bound
into the startling cold, and the way the
breath leaves, and returns
like the sense that you are small
and also not unlike
late summer monsoons
always on the verge of
danger, and undoing it all

The thirst says
we are soft in these bodies
part river, flowing with the browns, the cuttbows, the
immigrant geese, sometimes too much, and
risk ready, part creek trickling
for miles underground,
the thirst knows there is a way
to turn every breaking thing
into beauty, to flush the wound clean
and begin the healing
again, thirst is what is possible
when we tend to the wanting
of all the world, the generations, the stars
starting with
your one, dry mouth
and the reaching for the glass,
the pouring, and the filling
the lifting to your tongue, and the
drinking in until you are
drenched in

About Rev. Gretchen Haley

Gretchen Haley is relentlessly curious about most things, especially the big stuff of theology, the beauty of creation, the magic of collaboration, and the great joy of pop culture (reflected in this blog by random posts on Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Scandal, Orphan Black, or the latest Marvel movie). She has an audacious ambition for the liberal church, believing in its capacity to transform lives and our world by way of hyper-local relationships and partnerships that inspire the unleashing of courageous love. She's all in on adrienne maree brown's emergent strategy, and finds solace in the trails in and around Fort Collins Colorado where she serves with the brilliant Rev. Sean Neil-Barron as one of the ministers of the Foothills Unitarian Church. She and her amazing partner of over 20 years, Carri, have 2 children, Gracie (14) and Josef (12) who both relish and resent being PKs, and who keep her grounded, frustrated, inspired, and humbled, everyday. She is basically obsessed with her puppy, a large sized mutt, Charlie.
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