Thesis Title

The Wisdom of Water

Graduation Date

12-2021

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Program Name

Humanities

Program Director

Judy Halebsky, PhD

First Reader

Chase Clow, PhD

Second Reader

George Faithful, PhD

Abstract

As theologian Sallie McFague writes “we cannot love something we do not know” (29). This is as true of the environment as it is of the people in our lives. Using personal narrative as the primary mode of expression, I explore ways of forming a deep connection with the natural world through self-examination and introspection as well as through research into the history, ecology and spirit of a place. Drawing on the wisdom of a multitude of writers whose respect for the land guides their philosophy and their treatment of it, I reflect on my own personal experiences of living near three different water-filled landscapes. Native writers including Jeannette Armstrong and Robin Wall Kimmerer, environmentalists such as Aldo Leopold and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and eco-spiritual thinkers such as Thomas Berry, Joanna Macy and Sallie McFague guide this work. All have challenged me to move from a position of observer of the natural world to participant within it. This work seeks to demonstrate that one can only make such a move when one understands and acknowledges the interconnectedness of all living things, which in turn leads to a greater sense of spiritual connection and a stronger sense of responsibility for the ecological communities of which we are a part.

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