Monday, November 6, 2023

Episode 668 (11-13-23): A World of Gratitude for Water

Click to listen to episode (4:53).

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 11-6-23.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of November 13 and November 20, 2023.

MUSIC – ~28 sec – Lyrics: “What you gonna do when the river runs dry, when there’s no more water in your well?  You won’t know when to give it that one last try, you won’t be warned before the final bell.”

That’s part of “River Runs Dry,” by Blacksburg, Va., musician Kat Mills.  The song, in which water sources are metaphors for the songwriter’s inspiration, opens a Thanksgiving-season episode featuring expressions of gratitude for literal water sources not running dry.  Here are three such expressions, by people from North America, Vietnam, and Kenya.

1. The Haudenosaunee people, an alliance of six Native American tribes that was formerly known as the Iroquois Confederacy, has a traditional “Thanksgiving Address of Greetings to the Natural World.”  The address includes greetings to 17 aspects of the world, such as people, plants and animals, the moon and stars, winds and thunder, and the creator.  Here’s the greeting to The Waters: “We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength.  Water is life.  We know its power in many forms- waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans.  With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.  Now our minds are one.”

2. Vietnamese spritutal leader Thich Nhat Hanh has written many “gathas,” that is, short reflections or meditations, on daily activities. Here is his gatha for “Turning on the Water.”

“Water comes from high mountain sources.
Water runs deep in the Earth.
Miraculously, water comes to us and sustains all life.
My gratitude is filled to the brim.”

And 3.  About 10 years ago, a group of Kenyan schoolgirls wrote a poem in gratitude for a newly drilled well in their community.  Here’s that poem.

Dear water,
It was hard to get to you.
Waking up at dawn
Buckets on our heads
Donkeys loaded with jerrycans.
Miles we walked
In the scorching heat
To look for you.
Dear water,
At last you came.
Sweet water
Our backs are rested
The miles are no more
Diseases are gone.
For you are closer to us.
Dear water,
You are such a blessing.

One can find countless other expressions of awareness of and gratitude for water’s many vital purposes in writings by poets, politicians, professors, prophets, pundits, and plenty of others.

For one last, short reading, we return to one of the water metaphors in our opening music, and quote a Benjamin Franklin comment that applies not only to water but also to anything one has and can lose:

“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”

Thanks to people everywhere who know and speak about the worth of water.  Thanks also to Kat Mills for permission to use this episode’s music, and—with hope that this won’t be the case for you or anyone—we close with about 30 more seconds of “River Runs Dry.”  Happy Thanksgiving!

MUSIC - ~30 sec – Lyrics: “What you gonna do when the river runs dry?  Guess I’ll have to pack up and leave my home.”


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of “Cripple Creek” to open and close this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“River Runs Dry,” by Kat Mills, is on the 2003 album “Long Time,” from Sweetcut Music; used with permission.  More information about Kat Mills is available online at  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 557, 12-28-20.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at


Following are images of some Virginia water bodies for which the Commonwealth’s citizens can be thankful.  Photographs by Virginia Water Radio.

Lake Drummond in Dismal Swamp, April 30 2005.

Catoctin Creek at Featherbed Lane in Loudoun County, June 25, 2010.

Jeremy’s Run near Rileyville in Page County, July 22, 2012.

Craig Creek in Montgomery County, April 26, 2015. 


AZ Quotes, “Benjamin Franklin Quotes About Water,” online at  This is the source of the Franklin quote used in the audio.

Be Here Now Network, “44 Mindful Moves in Daily Life—Thich Nhat Hanh’s Gathas,” online at  This is the source of the Thich Nhat Hahn quote used in the audio.

Borgen Project, “Kenyan Schoolgirls Dedicate a Poem to Water,” by Sarah Sheppard, September 7, 2015, online at

Columban Interreligious Dialogue, “Being Grateful for the Gift of Water, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines,” online at

Abu Amina Elias, “Hadith on Water: Best charity is giving water to thirsty people,” posted by Daily Hadith Online, July, 23, 2017, online at

GoodReads, “Benjamin Franklin/Quotes/Quotable Quote,” online at

Zachiah Murray, “How to Do Gatha Practice,” posted by Lion’s Roar, July 25, 2022, online at

Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, “Haudenosaunee Guide for Educators,” 2009, online (as a PDF) at

Thai Plum Village, “Thich Nhat Hanh,” online at

Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation, online at

Saffet Catovioc, “Islamic Texts Related to Water,” posted by Green Faith Water Shield, undated, online (as a PDF) at

World Vision, “Video: Schoolgirls share their poem ‘Dear Water,’” May 6, 2019, online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Overall Importance of Water” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes for Thanksgiving.

Episode 291, 11-23-15 – Thanks for Musical Measures of Water.
Episode 343, 11-21-16 – Wild Turkey and Water.
Episode 395, 11-20-17 – Thanks for the Water – 2017 edition.
Episode 500, 11-25-19 – The Variety of Virginia’s Water Story – for 500th episode.
Episode 642, 11-21-22 – Thanks for the Water – 2022 Edition.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2017 English SOLs

5.4, 6.5, 7.4, 8.4, 8.5, 9.3, 9.4, 10.3, 10.4, 11.4 – Symbols, imagery, figurative language, and other literary devices.

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
K.11 – Humans use resources.
3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.
4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.
6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment.

Life Science
LS.9 – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science
ES.6 – Resource use is complex.
ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity.

2023 History and Social Science SOLs

Grade One: Commonwealth of Virginia
1.2 – The student will apply history and social science skills to explain how communities honor local and national traditions and recognize designated Virginia holidays.

Grade Two: United States of America
2.3 – The student will apply history and social science skills to explain how communities honor local and national traditions and recognize designated Virginia holidays.
2.5 – The student will use history and social science skills to identify the geographic location, use of resources, and identify the contributions of Indigenous peoples past and present.

Grade 5: United States History to 1865
USI.2 – The student will apply history and social science skills to describe how early cultures developed throughout North America.

Grade 8: World Geography
WG.2 – The student will apply social science skills to evaluate the significance of natural, human, and capital resources.
WG.3 – The student will analyze the characteristics of the United States and Canadian regions by (among other things) analyzing cultural influences and landscapes.
WG.7 – The student will analyze the characteristics of the Sub-Saharan African region by (among other things) analyzing cultural influences and landscapes.
WG.9 – The student will analyze the characteristics of the South Asian and Southeast Asian regions by (among other things) analyzing cultural influences and landscapes.
WG.14 – The student will apply history and social science skills to determine cultural patterns and interactions across time and place.

Grade 11: Virginia and United States History
VUS.1 – The student will apply history and social science skills to describe the early North America by distinguishing how different Indigenous People of North America used available resources to develop their culture, language, skills and perspectives.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.