Walking Water is a "fervent prayer and pioneering social action" that began last September in eastern California, continued last month, and will conclude in the fall of 2017. The "water" the participants are calling attention to is now mostly a memory, for the rivers and creeks of this Eastern Sierra valley were conscripted in the early twentieth century to supply drinking, bathing, and golf-course-greening water for the growing population of Los Angeles. The "walking" part of the name is a pilgrimage that traces the path of those waters.
According to the group's website, "Walking Water is not a demonstration, it is not a march against something, instead it is a celebration of the possibilities we have when we come together." The group aims to share stories about water among walkers and those they meet, unite diverse communities around a common concern, and begin exploring ways in which citizens can take a more active role in what happens to their land, water, and air.
Last year, the group walked from Mono Lake, near Yosemite National Park, to Owens Lake, a distance of 180 miles in 22 days. From September 23-October 14 this year they trekked from Owens Lake to The Cascade in Sylmar, CA. Next year they will complete the journey to LA.
To emphasize the inclusiveness of the pilgrimage, organizers have reached out to ranchers, farmers, Native Americans, park administrators, and others, not only asking permission to walk through and camp on their land, but extending invitations for them to join the pilgrimage. Participants may join the walk for an hour or for the duration.
Like Radical Joy for Hard Times, Walking Water both calls attention to what is painful and, through that awareness, discovers what is beautiful, unifying, and life-affirming.