Thursday, September 11, 2008

world rivers and the rhine

Remember our bike ride to France a few weeks ago? Well, I had another motive to head to the Rhine that day. I wanted to participate in the World Rivers project and dip a piece of fabric in the Rhine.

"World Rivers is a global collaboration uniting people through the element of water. Individuals from around the world dip white fabric in selected rivers. The fabric is then sewn together into a magnificent curtain. International participants, like rivers flowing to the ocean, join together to form a larger whole.

"World Rivers reveals a story of water, through the personal experience of many.

"World Rivers reveals civilization's connection to water while documenting our time in history."

That description if from the website which you'll find here with lots more information on the project including lots of photos and comments from other participants from around the world.

I was asked to participate by Lee from Looking for Fiddleheads and she is further asking for anyone and everyone around the world to send her pieces of white fabric (almost any size will do) that has been dipped in a river or lake. She's in the process of sewing together these fabric pieces into a giant curtan, connecting the people and the water together.

I liked making a physical connection to my river...I think we often forget how important our waters are for us. We turn on a facet to retrive the water we use and our travels are by car and train and plane and rarely by water anymore...but participating in this project made me remember how important the Rhine is to Germany.

The Rhine was a major trade and travel route in centuries past. As you travel up the Autobahn that runs parallel to our bit of the Rhine on one side and the Black Forest hills on the other, you notice a lot - A LOT - of ruined castles on the hills that look down on the river, which means that this was a major source of power for those controlling the traffic on the river for a long time.

Not just for trade and travel, but the Rhine has been the center of political disputes as well. For centuries France and Germany has bickered over the true border between their lands...the Germans claimed the French Vosges mountains should be the border between the countries and France claimed the Rhine is the natural dividing line. As a result the French Alsace region just on the other side of the Rhine has gone back and forth between being German and French resulting in a unique joining of culture.

The Rhine is mighty, powerful, beautiful and immensly influential in the history of this part of the world. It's amazing to think how water not only gives us life but also forms our lives and cultures and histories!

You can participate, too!! Click here to see how you can become a part of this international project!

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