Seini & Shanta
Piscataway Park, MD
2021

Story Info

Story & Experience

We were surrounded by dragonflies, cicadas, and the sweet smells of pollinating plants as we wandered through the tree-shaded trails of Piscataway Park. As always, the water drew us. The shoreline was scattered with driftwood and trash, and the river was brown from recent rain. It was humbling to think of how many moments this river had seen. There was something about the sound of the water lapping against the rocks that sounded so beautifully melancholic and calming at the same time. We had brought some small biodegradable items with us to symbolize challenges from the past year, and left these as offerings on the river’s edge. We reflected on ways we had felt stuck, despairing, heart broken. The water listened, and birds circled overhead, inviting us to look up and out. There felt like enough space for both grief and hope. We gathered little stones from the riverside to create an act of beauty up at the top of the bank, where the trail had left off, and where an abandoned plastic trash bin lay half collapsed into the soil. It seemed like a space in need of some love. And then we wandered on, enjoying the park, moving slowly, the day seeming very full of contemplation and contentment, with no need for haste. We chose a mossy spot to walk barefoot under the trees and get to know the land a little more intimately—a walking meditation. This wounded place had a lot to teach us.

Why this Place?

Piscataway Park, MD

Piscataway Park borders on the beautiful—yet polluted—Potomac river, and within its boundaries lies Accokeek Creek, home of indigenous peoples for countless generations. We were drawn to honor their enduring spiritual presence, acknowledge and mourn the damage and destruction inflicted on people, animals, plants, land, and waterways in that area, and hold hope for healing in the present and future.

Act of Beauty

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We created a circle of hope and healing with stones of different shapes and hues and sizes, symbolizing a coming together of people, and of all forms of life, in all its beautiful and imperfect diversity. There are gaps between our stones—nothing is perfectly connected, and there is work to be done to complete the circle. But it felt enough to open our imaginations to a different story.

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