May There be Water by Erin Geesaman Rabke

Praise the scent of low tide that arrives on my high desert city porch
A whiff, as if of Cape Cod, from our tideless ancient inland sea

Praise the time we gathered on her shores with maroon robed Tibetan monks
a baby wrapped to my chest
Pouring dried brine shrimp back into the lake to rehydrate their lives
Saving lives creates good karma and who knows, did they come back to life?
Billions of tiny lives returned to the salty water where they belong

Praise the time we took the tandem kayak onto her waters
Laughing, paddling away from the view of the highway
Toward reflections of mountain islands given back to us on her mercurial waves

Praise the tiny fluff-ball baby birds, red and black poofs as if plucked from a Dr. Seuss book,
Who we saw there on the shore.
Even my friend who wrote the book on Utah birds doesn’t know what mystery miracle we witnessed, 
But we saw it
Because there was water in the lake where it belongs

Praise the raucous calls of thousands of tundra swans
A visitation so astonishing, so loud, so abundant
You hold your breath to take it in
You can’t imagine the place without them
You can’t believe you’re lucky enough to see them

May there be water here for thousands of generations
of humans and swans
So the future ones can stand with their own breath held
Their eyes wide and jaws soft 
Gawping at the miracle of thousands of swans gathered and calling
Calling us to notice and to care 
about lives beyond our own

Praise the grief rituals held on her shores
praise the brave grievers who came
Praise the time we stood in a circle in 70 mile per hour winds
And the wind blew right through the grief
scoured us
we had to pause and root so as not to blow away
You have to want your life
And the wind, through our grief, lit up that primal impulse 
to want to live despite the ache

Praise refuge
Praise the impulse to praise
Praise rest areas for birds
Praise marsh hawks flying low over the grasslands

Praise Nan leading the charge
The charge to notice, to love, 
to save our Great Salt Lake
To see that change can come from love

Not outrage, not greed, not looking away
Bearing witness
With a heart overflowing
Recognizing the miracle of being here
Blessed by this ancient inland sea
Our saline lake
who has always been here for us
May we be here for her
Now when she needs us
And always

Erin Geesaman Rabke is a passionate proponent of praise who lives to the Southeast of our Great Salt Lake and who loves its mercurial waters, abundant wildlife, and even its funky fecund aroma. Erin's verse is part 56 of the collective praise poem irreplaceable.