I’ve started to use a couple of new terms to talk about springs. These terms just sprang (pardon the pun) unbidden in conversation with a group of people who were brainstorming about how water advocates could cast a wider net of messages to inspire greater support for saving Florida’s freshwater springs.
The first term I used was “Home Spring,” as in, “Rum Island is my Home Spring,” the closest spring to where I live. Well, it’s not actually the closest (that’s July Spring), but Rum is the closest that’s publicly accessible by land so it’s the one I visit most frequently and the one I think of as “home.” That discussion sparked one member of our group to have an idea: To create an app so that people could punch their addresses into a smart phone or computer and find out their watershed address.
I first learned about watershed addresses from the writer Janisse Ray, who included her watershed address at the bottom of her emails. I noticed that Lesley Gamble of the Springs Eternal Project was doing the same thing so, in copycat mode, I started using a watershed address too:
@Rum Island Spring @Santa Fe River @Suwannee River @Gulf of Mexico
The idea is simple: Identify the closest body of water to your abode, then follow the course of the water that flows from it to its eventual destination. Using a watershed address is a neat way to remind yourself to be aware of your bioregion, the local environment that sustains you.
The other term I used was “Heart Spring,” which for me has been—since the first time I went there and heard otherworldly voices—the Ichetucknee.
Yes, I spent many happy hours at the Ginnie Springs group; I lost my springs virginity at Rock Springs near Orlando; I marveled at Silver Springs and Rainbow Springs back in the 1950s; but it is Ichetucknee that exudes a profound magic and exerts a magnetic pull on my heart.
The difference between all those other springs I’ve enjoyed, my Home Spring and the Ichetucknee is easy to describe: The Ich is the spring I love beyond all others.
It’s like the difference between good friends, family members, romantic and business partners, and the beloved—the person who, out of all the people you know, overwhelms your heart with so much unconditional love that you weep cathartic tears from the center of your soul.
Last night, I dreamed of a headless demon clad in black and when I turned to face my fear, the demon came at me relentlessly. In my dream, I began to scream and the terror woke me up. I realized the demon was Death and he was stalking me; I wasn’t ready to go.
Death is stalking all of us, yet we are bound together by cords of Love. I held these two concepts, Death and Love, in my mind for a while, and the question came:
What do you love enough to die for? Could a spring be one of those things?
If your answer to that last question is yes, then that’s your Heart Spring.