Radical Joy Revealed
August 26, 2015
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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places. We hope you'll enjoy these doorways into places that are both familiar and surprising, and we welcome your suggestions, stories, and photos. Click here to subscribe.

Orange waters of the Animas River
The Animas River, tainted orange by waste from an abandoned gold mine. From a video by CNN.
How do you respond when the beautiful river that meanders through your city, your forests, your mountains, and whose name means "soul", turns the color of a rotten pumpkin?
 
On August 12 EPA employees who were trying to treat contaminated water in an abandoned gold mine in Silverton, Colorado accidentally breached the mine and caused 3 million gallons of waste to tumble into the Animas River.
 
Radical Joy for Hard Times sent out a call to members and friends who live along the Animas, requesting that they give some beauty and attention to the river, and on Sunday evening, August 16, about a dozen people gathered at the riverbank home of Jessica and Steve Zeller in Durango for a ceremony led by Jessica and Rebecca Wildbear.
 
After the reading of a poem by Mary Oliver, people introduced themselves to the river and one another, then shared personal feelings and stories about it. They also made offerings to the river: a song, flowers, a favorite stone from a sacred pouch and an offering to the four directions, fire, incense, tobacco, shells, stones, and feathers from sacred places and ceremonies all over the world. A prayer to the river, written by Ron Margolis, included these words:
 
May the pain of actually witnessing with our own eyes your suffering remain with us and help us keep our hearts open to our connection with you and our need to care for you in a more conscious and deeper way from this day forward.
 
May our pain and grief strengthen our resolve to protect you and consider well your needs and your health, which we all are very much dependent upon for our survival
 
Another offering was a letter to the Animas, written by Rebecca Wildbear; it was later printed in the Durango Telegraph.
 
As darkness fell and the river flowed beneath a sliver of new moon, Jessica led a meditation from Tibetan Buddhism called tonglen, in which the women and men breathed into their own bodies the suffering of the river and all the beings who depend on it for life--and breathed out beauty and health.

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Radical Joy for Hard Times is a global community of people dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth. 
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