Finding healing and joy in temporary desert waters
Audio essay by Kimi Eisele
When the rains come to southern Arizona, the dry arroyos turn into streams and swimming holes. To visit this water—for bathing, playing, cleansing—is to participate in one of the oldest rituals on the planet. Across the globe, cultures from the ancient Romans and pagan Europeans to Christians, Jews, and Muslims to both Indigenous and newcomers to the Americas have used water for ceremony, healing, joy, and spiritual revival. In the Sonoran Desert, temporary and swift summer floodwaters call for respect and reverence, as Tohono O’odham cultural worker Bernard Siquieros remembers from his childhood. In this audio essay, Kimi Eisele contemplates this seasonal ritual, its cultural history, and her own monsoon river outings.
Production support: Alex Pere
BBC Sound Effects
Free Music Archive: Ludwigs Steirische Gaudi, Village Dogs Delay (ID 15)
Freesound: Reinsamba, Cuban Santeria Drumming, Berlin Carnival of Cultures, Bluecherpltaz, 2011; Music Beds 1, Morenita, TexasMusicForge, July 13, 2005; Oneirophile, Ambience of a Public Swimming Pool, Summer 2012.
Pixabay: BluBonRelaXon, Om Namah Shivaya Mantra Chants 432 Hz