By Kaitlin Bryson
Big Bend State Park, TX
October 24, 2016
Today I sat on the banks of the Rio Grande and offered my hand to the Rio. With needles collected from a nearby Prickly Pear Cactus, I tattooed the line of the river into and around the side of my hand. This gesture is a form of acknowledgement; the Rio is now embedded into my lifelines, just as I am woven into its systems.
As we traveled down the Rio Grande this semester learning and thinking about water rights, it has become incredibly clear that the Rio is a living being and is the tie that binds it all together. It is a visceral link, a blood line that runs through the land, which supports and nourishes every aspect of life in the Southwest. It connects all of the varying strata – the lives of humans and nonhumans, culture, spirituality, history, and ecology – into a dynamic and ever-changing system.
I see the completed line on my hand only as the beginning of this piece. It is a mark that will most certainly change, just as the Rio itself does. I will document and record the shifts, erosion, and changes that this line undergoes as I continue to work for//with//within this watershed and bioregion.