chapter  7
10 Pages

I am the river bleeding

ByDouglas Ezzy

In an insightful rethinking of what constitutes ‘animism’, Graham Harvey de nes animism as: ‘being concerned with learning how to be a good person in respectful relationships with other persons’ (2005: xi). Further, only some persons are human. In this chapter I ask how we, as humans, can engage respectfully with ‘water persons’ such as rivers, creeks and rain. Following Harvey, I argue that such respectful engagement with water persons involves a signi cant rethinking of our more general worldview and religious mythology. Further, religion is not about belief in the supernatural, but, quoting Detwiler, Harvey suggests that religion is ‘a quest for ethical responsibility through communicative action’ (ibid.: 49). As he puts it later in the book, ‘animism is concerned with the unfolding of potential (in) relationships’ (ibid.: 64). is leads me to the question: what unfolds from a communicative relationship with water persons? I argue that the answer tells us as much about ourselves, and what it means to be human, as it does about water. e answer, of course, and as always, begins in stories.