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A cup of cold water

Recently I heard the lyrics of a song,

“I gave you a cup of cold water, it is all I require of you.”

Our lives are only cups of cold water given to whoever we meet along our life’s journey.

Have you ever felt there was a time when you received everything and gave nothing? I felt that way at the celebration of the completion of the Rio Blanco River Restoration Project.

I just showed up for the celebration while so many, many people gave their blood, sweat and tears. This project has been in operation for over twenty years in order to bring health back to our sick river. Hopefully this cup of cold water is a token of my heartfelt thank you to the people who worked on this project.

This river runs by our property, which we have enjoyed as property owners since 1965. Our little river made regional news. It has given many cups of water to the people in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.

We were invited to enjoy a banquet, ceremony, picnic and all the preparations for over 200 homeowners living on the Lower Blanco. We learned about this living life which moves along the banks of our property. It enabled us to meet and renew old lifetime friendships along the Rio Blanco River. This river brings us together as a community.

Years ago I painted an oil painting of a woman crouched next to this river. In the background was Square Top and I called it The Blanco Dove. In the painting I arranged her with her hands cupped as if she was handing a cup of cold water from the Blanco.

I wanted to paint the concept of giving a cup of water in His name. It was a noble, religious thought. It was only a concept to me at the time.

In the process of drawing and painting the model, I spoke of the love of God, and tears fell from her eyes. She understood the love of God and I realized then she was refreshing me by her tears. She had learned some hard life lessons and knew more than I about the love of God. The cup she handed to me was filled with tears of joy.

The Rio Blanco has a lot of history with all of us who live by her. She has given many cups of water, which we have taken for grant. When we moved here full time in 1976, we bathed in the river for three months until we could get our well and electricity. We drank from this river when our well was frozen.

The kids have made their swimming hole in the belly of the river. Al and our guests have fished from her banks many times. Fishermen tell their fish stories about how they caught them from the Rio Blanco.

At the banquet several people stood and gave a certain facet of their involvement. I was moved once again by this river that runs along our property line. People, who had the ability to write grants, contact the powers that be, the organizations that came along side and the Blanco residents, all gave in order to complete the work.

This river has struggled for years keeping afloat. We didn’t think much about it, we took it for granted. It has always been there and we were not aware how unhealthy it had become. Others did, they had the foresight to reclaim our river.

There are many people along our banks of life who have continued to give us a cup of water. We show up and enjoy other’s hard work. Many pass by and we take them for grant. We are not sure where they come from or where they are going, but they pass by and we are refreshed by them.

Val Valentine wrote a book about the Blanco, called “A River Once More.” He cared enough to document every step and every change our river went through from 1989 to 2010.

He writes, “A river can be killed by treating it only as a commodity rather than the habitat of life itself. When we nurture our singing and working rivers, we celebrate the greater community in which we live…In Colorado as a territory and a state,“’Here is a land where life is written in Water.’”

Val also writes, “I have worked on this river long enough to see the same water pass by perhaps a dozen times. I listen to hear of its stories of the Arizona desert, the aqueducts and salad bowls of field and table in California. I know it is multi-lingual, an international traveler, yet it comes back to me, to all, again and again, from the high country, its sanctuary, a place of rest.”

The song goes, “I gave you a cup of water and that is all I require of you.”

Our River of Life comes from the High Country. From His sanctuary and moves in and out of lives as a place of rest and we witness it through the constant moving of the Rio Blanco River.


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