Pope Francis’ post-synodal exhortation discusses “this dream made of water.” The Amazon is obviously first a mighty river. But this might, expanse, and water forms a people and their cultures. The Holy Father turns first to four authors who inform and inspire those willing to read, listen, and ponder.
Rather than highlight some lyrical moments the pope thought significant to his document, I thought we’d take today and the next three days to look at the quotes in their entirety and digest them a bit.
43. In the Amazon region, water is queen; the rivers and streams are like veins, and water determines every form of life:
“There, in the dead of summer, when the last gusts from the East subside in the still air, the hydrometer takes the place of the thermometer in determining the weather. Lives depend on a painful alternation of falls and rises in the level of the great rivers. These always swell in an impressive manner. The Amazonas overflows its bed and in just a few days raises the level of its waters… The flooding puts a stop to everything. Caught in the dense foliage of the igarapies, man awaits with rare stoicism the inexorable end of that paradoxical winter of elevated temperatures. The receding of the waters is summer. It is the resurrection of the primitive activity of those who carry on with the only form of life compatible with the unequal extremes of nature that make the continuation of any effort impossible”.[Euclides da Cunha, Los Sertones (Os Sertões), Buenos Aires (1946), 65-66]
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