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Sharon Day and Barb Baker-larush at journey’s end!–Photo by Lee Taylor
981 miles of steps for the Ohio River during the Ohio River Nibi walk! They did it! Thank you, Ojibwe women, Sharon Day and Barb Baker-larush for every loving step you took with each step a healing prayer!
From their first step taken on Earth Day, April 21, 2014 beginning at the Ohio’s headwaters in Pittsburgh, PA, to the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi at Cairo, IL, ending officially on May 26, 2014, these amazing women persevered. Despite torrential rain, they walked every day—sometimes just the two of them or sometimes with others who helped to carry the load. Undeterred by sore feet, heavy traffic, or the hot sun, they just kept walking for the water.
I smiled when I read on Sharon’s Facebook page, that a fish jumped when the water from the Ohio’s headwaters was poured into at the confluence at the Mississippi! That seems to be a good sign for better days to come for the river. Because of Sharon and Barb and everyone else who walked with them, more eyes are on the Ohio River and greater awareness has been raised regarding its current horribly polluted state.
“Where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi” from Sharon Day’s Facebook page
I am personally inspired by and grateful to Sharon and Barb for sharing their incredible journey with me and for helping me to know that just like walking for the water requires mindfulness, so does protecting the water require mindfulness. If Sharon and Barb have inspired you in some way to be more mindful about caring for our water, write a letter to the editor to your local paper or call one of your state or federal representatives and tell them you want them to advocate for that greater protection for our streams and rivers. And maybe in the future, you will want to join them on another Nibi walk.
Dianne Stephenson, Sharon Day, Barb Baker-larush and Keely Kernan at Harris Riverfront Park, Huntington, WV