Goldfields God talk Reservoir

From the Goldfields


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The Revd Dr Elizabeth J Smith AM, Mission Priest, Parish of The Goldfields

Most of the water we use in Kalgoorlie-Boulder has travelled almost 600 kilometres from the Perth hills, pumped and siphoned through CY O’Connor’s amazing pipeline. Before it is delivered to our household taps, it is stored in covered reservoirs so that as little as possible evaporates into our dry air.

An astonishing amount of this top-quality drinking water goes to various industrial uses, as well as onto Goldfields gardens. In the summer heat, I am grateful for the cooling it offers, as it evaporates through my rooftop air conditioner. I use it strategically to keep my kitchen herbs alive and green. I have stopped applying it to the rest of the garden via the reticulation system; this is going to require some garden re-design, to manage the reduction in grass cover.

Another water source for our city is storm water, captured during cloudbursts, thunderstorms, and the tail-end of the cyclones that occasionally track across from the Pilbara coast. Rain water rushes in rivers down the streets and gutters, collecting debris as it is collected by drains and channelled to different reservoirs, some covered, some open to the sky. This water, though not fit for drinking, does a good job of keeping our parks, sports ovals and school grounds green all year round.

Right now, though, after a very dry summer, there is barely a puddle left in the big reservoir at the bottom of Piccadilly Street. There are real concerns about how our green spaces will survive through the next hot months. Dust from minesites around town is bad enough; imagine the devastation if our grassy places also turned to dust!

We begin Lent with talk of dust as the final destination for our mortal bodies. I find it immensely comforting to be reminded gently, but with absolute clarity, that I will die. That I am not immortal. That my body is and always will be of the earth.

Yet, while I live, the dust needs managing; it needs dampening. Right through the Bible, dryness is a core image for the depletion of spiritual resources. To become fruitful and beautiful, rather than blowing around destructively, the dust that I am needs plentiful irrigation. Lent is a time to check my reserves of the Spirit’s gracious provision for life and growth. If the levels are low, Lent is a time to set about restoring them.

I may sit quietly and pray, letting God’s words of comfort, nourishment and blessing soak into my spirit. Perhaps I shall read the Bible, some substantial theological writing, some powerful poetry or prose, drinking in deeply the words that point me to the living Word. I may get up and get active, being a good companion to people either where showers of blessing are falling in their lives, or where they are out of their depth and fear they are drowning in trouble and sorrow. Perhaps I may write my way out of aridity into green productivity. One way or another, I don’t have to stay dry.

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