All images in the cover photo were taken by me over the last couple of years at sites of water that had a powerful impact on us. My wife is Kamtsa indigenous of the Colombian Andes. She would pause, pray and ask permission as we approached each. My believes are very different but I have deep awe of nature and also felt the power and beauty and sorrow of damage to the earth.
The background is a lake in a volcanic crater in the Andes. As we climbed the rim, a stream of mist flowed up in front of us, down into the crater and past us to one side. All was white when we reached the rim. As my wife paused in prayer and I felt the power of the site, the cloud slowly dissipated, giving us a full view. Later when we left, the mist returned to cover the lake in the crater. For her, mother nature heard her prayer and uncovered the beauty to share with us.
The photo on the left is the Wolf River in Wisconsin USA. This river is being threatened by mining projects near its origin in Michigan. This was again a site of intense prayer and connection for her and a Menominee indigenous of their land here.
In the center photo, my wife was a guest of a canoe family of indigenous on the Colombia River, Oregon USA. We slept on the floor of their longhouse the night before their Spring salmon ritual. About 60 years ago a series of dams were constructed on the river, to support barge traffic. It had been spectacular cascades and abundant salmon. Today there are railways and highways on both sides in addition to the barge traffic. During the night I frequently heard barges, trains and trucks. I thought of all of the resources flowing out and the plans for similar route through her indigenous land in the Andes to also extract resource to a port on the Pacific, in this case from the Amazon.
When they paddle, it is prayer as their paddles touch the water, connecting with nature and ancestors. On this day, also Easter Sunday, the prayer had extra meaning. While practicing the prior weekend, one canoe capsized and a member of their community drowned in this river.
The picture on the right is the Salish Sea (includes Pugent Sound) at Bellingham, Washington USA, near the Canadian border. This is the land of the Lumi indigenous. My wife waded into the water and prayed, again connecting with nature and their ancestors. We were at the site were indigenous and environmentalists blocked construction of what would have been one of the largest coal terminals, Cherry Point.