14 March 2011

holy well excursion #1

Map of Point Pleasant Park with list of water sources

Sunday was an amazing day at the park - tons of people out with friends, family, pets and our exquisite Holy Well Excursion Group.  Everyone gathered at the Gatekeeper's Lodge and we set out on our mission to locate the mysterious Holy Well, reputed to be located in the Park.

The Holy Well Excursion was developed from research that I had been doing about different features of the park made by people over the last 130 years.  I read in an archeological report from 2006, that a feature called the Holy Well existed on Park land, and was one of the only sources of potable (safe drinking) water untreated by the city and available in the South End of Halifax.  Most survival manuals take a great deal of time to emphasize the importance of clean drinking water, humans can survive a week without food, but only 2 days without water.  

Celebrating our search with flags made from survival solar blankets, an emergency radio broadcast, a very loud whistle and my MUSTANG suit, the group of 7 excursioneers set out by foot to find the Holy Well and bring back some of its bounty to the Lodge. 

At junction of Lodge Road and Cambridge Drive
Arrival at Holy Well

Having arrived at the sought-after well, we planted our flags for a moment while preparing for the collection of water and a survival blessing for the excursioneers.  The mantra  BE CALM. THINK FAST.  is often repeated in survival literature, and has a meditative quality to the combination of words.  Zen koans are often short directives or phrases meant to shock the mind into awareness and I find the survival mantra above does the same in that two seemingly opposite ideas are being encouraged simultaneously.

BE CALM. THINK FAST. Blessings at the Holy Well

Gathering of water from the Holy Well

After making the blessings and crossing back over the
Holy Well as a group, we returned to the Gatekeeper's Lodge, with water in hand and high spirits.  Groundskeepers at the park apparently know about the well's location, but very little is known about its history other than the reputation it holds for clear, clean drinking water.  As I discussed with the group, Spring is not the best time to drink from free-flowing sources of table water (such as this) because of the melt down and run off containing debris that was frozen over the winter and is only now melting.

Return to Lodge on Birch Road
Holy Well Water sample and Sustenance Printed Matter

All the participants who joined in Sunday's Holy Well Excursion received a sample of the Holy Well Water and a printed document related to water procurement in survival scenarios.  I want to thank all the excursioneers for making Sunday a fantastic day, particular thanks to CB for photographing the event.

If you would like to participate in a Holy Well Excursion, there are two more planned, one for March 21st and another on April 10th at 2:00 pm.  I would also like to invite any interested folks out to the Lamplighter's Invocation this Saturday night at 7:10 pm.  Please read the below post excursions and an invocation for more information.  These events are open to anyone of any age, including furry companions.


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