Water is Life – Hot Springs Arkansas
Is it just me or does everyone love the sound of water? For me there is something truly medicinal in the sound of a crashing wave, a cascading waterfall or babbling brook. Okay, well sometimes it makes me wanna pee, but besides that I really find healing in the sound. And, if just the sound can do that, then imagine what drinking, touching and immersing yourself in this life source can do. As I write these words my ears are attuned to the sound of waters rushing down a creek outside. A stream that is swollen from recent rains and alive with little fishes and crawdads.
Is that a bathtub rolling down the road being pushed by 5 hunky fire fighters? Yes! Yes it is a bathtub complete with a rubber ducky and fellow firefighter sitting in the tub full of water. It’s not just one but 20 bathtubs parading down main street. Oh but wait, there are three men in bathrobes with “Judge” printed on the back who are wearing shower caps and are throwing water balloons at pedestrians that line main street. One of the towns celebrity magicians, Maxwell Blade is in his robe throwing out candy too.
It’s 9:30 Saturday morning and we’ve found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the Hot Springs annual “Running of the Tubs” parade. Each homemade roller derby style bathtub is built on wheels and the team of 5 to 7 race it down the street filled with water. The objective is to lose as little water as possible before you cross the finish line. The fire and police departments kick it off. The first round goes to the police department for the first time in 7 years then the race continues with 20 or so different tubs of all different designs. What a hoot!
Hot Springs, Arkansas is known for, well for it’s hot springs. It’s an amazing thing. Rainwater that fell over 4000 years ago travels down through rock and crevices to finally bubble up out of these springs at 143 degrees.
You could almost boil a chicken in that. This is Hot Springs National Park and they are all about water. This national park is really the oldest in America. Yeah! Yeah! I know that Yellowstone is the first registered National Park but 40 years before it became a National Park our then President Andrew Jackson sat aside Hot Springs as a reservation because of those springs and thank goodness he did. While other parks protect their gorgeous views, magnificent forest and foliage, wildlife and natural vistas; Hot Springs is the only National Park that values and protects fresh WATER. And, you know what else? They give it away! Seriously! There are water stations within the park that you can bring your containers and fill up on this delicious mineral water. There are bathhouses where you can go and spend a day in luxury just as the elite did in the 1930’s. They’ll steam you up, kneed your muscles and let you soak in the hot water until you start to smell yourself cooking. Just kidding. They actually add cool water to the 143 degrees since that’d be way too hot to sit in.
While being here in this place it brought to our awareness the absolute necessity of water. Seems that all along we’ve been chasing water. Just this year alone, we were camp hosts at a place called Lithia Springs in Florida where 24 million gallons of water a day bubble up from this natural spring. We followed the road into Georgia and camped in Indian Springs State Park and drank from the sulfur spring that has been piped for generations from underground for all to enjoy. We’ve floated down the Collins River and were taken back in time by the flow of this Tennessee river. As we crossed the Mississippi river for the first time in our RV, it hit us. It’s all about Water!!
Recently, while at Rock Island State Park, our friend came to our campsite and played us a song about water being life. The eerie sound of his banjo and the meaningful words of his song still echo in my mind. “Mni Wiconi” is in Lakota meaning water is life. Water is life!!!
Sisters and brothers, please continue to pray for our Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Dakota Access pipeline now underway. They need our song. We all need each other, we all stand at the spring and we all we need sweet water!