Leadership Insights by Shannon Waters
Daily life eventually requires us all to rest and heal. I am fortunate.
This year’s transition was accompanied by a pain in my gut that I tried to avoid, or explain away, but kept getting stronger.
As a physician in a small community, I self-consciously went to our local emergency department – in the middle of the night – because the pain was prompting action. Hours after my initial assessment, an ultrasound revealed the source. I had appendicitis.
The pain was prompting action.
I have good access to quality health care, a husband and family to help care for my two daughters, friends routing for me, and colleagues covering my work.
Still, while lying on the stretcher having one last conversation with the surgeon and anesthetist before my surgery, I felt incredible humility that -for all my strength and ability – I was putting my life into the hands, minds, skills and intent of those responsible to assist me.
As expected, my surgery was successful, and my vulnerability is dissipating with my recovery.
The Quw’utsun River (‘the River’) and watershed touches the lives of all in the valley region through means such as being:
- A source of drinking water,
- An important player in food security as a home for salmon;
- A place for recreation/solace/cultural practices; and therefore, supporting physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health;
- An important resource for income security of those whose jobs are connected with the River.
The River has been experiencing pain for some time due to reasons that are both complex and multi-factorial.
- Hotter, drier summers have brought eleven droughts to the Cowichan Valley since 1998, with 2019 being the worst year so far.
- A decreased snowpack has contributed to lower water levels in Cowichan Lake, which feeds the Quw’utsun River.
- The reduced inflows to the lake are no longer adequate to provide the river flows necessary to maintain the ecological balance of the River and rich diversity of life it has supported for millennia.
- The River, and the ecosystem it supports, are in a state of incredible vulnerability.
Just hours after I came out of surgery, the Quw’utsun River went on “life support”. Pumps have been installed to bring water from the lake to the River to keep it flowing.
The essence of the River – its life force, energy and flow – is now in our hands, minds, skills and intent.