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Prayers for a river gone dry

People in New Mexico gather to seek a new consciousness around water and all beings

People pray at the Rio Grande
People pray at the Rio Grande Photo: Patrick Jaramillo / AFSC

In the last days of July, the Rio Grande ran dry for the first time in 40 years.

The sight of the dry riverbed was a look into our future, and it made people feel things that they had not felt when reading articles, looking at charts or watching news stories.

To honor those feelings and to create space for people, AFSC New Mexico along with our partners in the Contra Santolina Working Group invited anyone who cared to join us to gather at the river to offer prayers and reflections, to grieve and mourn and find hope.

On the morning of August 6. a group of about 75 people gathered at a park near the river and processed in prayer to the banks of the Rio Grande led by danzantes from the Conchero tradition. At the riverbank, many people offered prayers from different faith traditions, poems, and songs.

People lifted up prayers asking our Creator for mercy in these dry times, prayers of thanksgiving for the rains that allowed the river to flow again, and prayers for a new water consciousness in our community that might facilitate the move toward Right Relationship with our Mother Earth and all those living things we share this place with.