I stand on the beach at Boca Chica, Texas listening to gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico. The Rio Bravo/Rio Grande is nearby, after making it’s nearly 2,000 mile journey from the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. This is my first time here. I am from Colorado where I’ve camped near the origins of the Rio. And I’ve lived near the Rio Grande most of my life in Texas and New Mexico. It is a special moment to be here for the first time–a convergence of both the Rio and my own.
The river serves as a natural border between the US and Mexico – but Mexican friends tell me that over the years immigrants have not crossed the “border.” Rather, the artificial border crossed their homeland. Since the mid–20th century, heavy water consumption of farms and cities along with many large dams on the river has left only 20% of its natural discharge to flow to the Gulf. Near the river’s mouth is an important agricultural region. The Rio Grande is one of 19 Great Waters recognized by America’s Great Waters Coalition. The Rio Grande’s watershed covers 182,200 square miles (472,000 km2).
For me, this is a moment of prayer and thanksgiving to All that brings waters of life to the Rio Grande and around the world. I offer some of the water I have gathered from oceans, holy springs and other rivers. Then I fill my empty bottle with this water. The prayers will continue wherever I go, a wonderful circle and cycle.
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