Think Every Drop-We’re all In the Same Boat

Think Every Drop

We are all in the same boat

our ripples effect

Photo: Judy Glasel

In September I became aware of a major bottling company having made a proposal to tap 1,700,000 gallons of water per day from a lake in Woodstock that I cherish. This lake feeds the City of Kingston’s water supply who then sells some of it to the Town of Ulster because they’re water is too hard and needs 700,000 gallons per day to mix with their own. Now the Town of Ulster plans to broker the deal. And I am not sure they are considering their neighbors in their effort to fill an empty business complex. Meanwhile, the DEC has washed their hands of us, County Executives have remained silent through this process and the the Governor of NY is pushing this project silently via Start-Up NY which has offered ten years of tax exemptions to Niagara. And I do believe that The Town Of Ulster has their eye on the Plastic Manufacturing plant, with or without our water.

They cannot have our water, and they cannot have our Air Quality, and this is bigger than we think…At first I was scared and angry, and I still am, but joining together with concerned citizens and the few politicians who still hold integrity, I am less afraid and more determined to see the best possible result.

For most of my adult life I have steered clear of social activism, and for good reason.

I am well aware that my energy is very intense, my sense of directness can disarm people, and I am not always a think-before-doing kind of person.


Because of that and because of my propensity to poke the hornets nest, I usually just pray from the sidelines–holding the vision of the greater intent and supporting those in the front lines.
But this time I’m doing quite the opposite––taking the challenge of joining this team and working daily for the preservation of my community.
I live in a “not in my back yard” Community.
Many people turn out when any large construction or possibly environmentally damaging project comes to the table.
Once in a while for me, it feels completely necessary to jump in and say no. This is one of those times.
What I’m learning most about this process is that civic engagement comes in many forms and colors.
There’s so many different ways to become involved–educating your community, holding politicians accountable and spreading the word.
There is a large movement of concerned community involvement, and we are so blessed for the work of Kingston Citizens, Woodstock Land Conservancy, Esopus Creek ConservancyThe Woodstock citizens group; Save Cooper Lake, Riverkeeper, Transition Woodstock, The Alderman of Kingston, The Woodstock Town Board and and all of the other people who seem to be joining the effort.
In the last two months I have learned more about policy then I ever cared too before, and I’m glad. But even more so, I am learning about myself.
This experience has been very telling about my own personality and relational tendencies––and why I so often choose to stay off the front lines of civic activity.
If I don’t hold myself in check, it becomes a fight and suddenly I look at myself roped in to the battle.
I make rash decisions and misjudgments, I become counterproductive and my energy is best spent elsewhere. And the honest truth is that there’s no formula––and I certainly don’t have even half of the answers. And fear and anger only cloud the way to solution.
So it appears that once again, as usual,  I have to Keep myself in check.
My ego, my intensity, my fear and judgment are all part of the “fight” and my work is, to keep my focus on the scrutiny of the situation at hand and recognize that each of us has a drop to add to the bucket, and there is a ripple effect.
As we all need to be thinking every drop proverbially and literally.
When I think every drop of energy that I put into the bucket while the bucket either spills over the top, or leaks from the bottom, I come to a really strong sense that every drop matters… And our ripples effect.
So in this effort I have decided that one of my gifts is to point to all of the efforts that are going into this particular issue––which is that our water is at stake and it’s not just in my tiny little town or my region or my state or even my country––this is an issue that is global and we all need to come together and add our drops to the bucket…
Whether they be prayers or physical presence or letters to Lawmakers or songs or water filters–– there’s always something you can give and there’s always something to be checked and there’s always something to be balanced.
Right now, the balance that I’m working with personally, is recognizing that if I look at this as a fight then I will be fighting for the rest of my life.
This does’t have to be a fight, it can be a unifier.
I want to see the results that I, and those working together for a sustainable future can bring.
I am so overwhelmed with emotion that sometimes I am not sure where to direct my intense ball of energy.
I can sometimes (more often than I would like) move with rashness… Combined with my brashness, this can be a detriment to myself and the vision at hand.


I am learning that I cannot be so selfish as to protect myself from what comes up for me when I join the effort, but instead continue to stay involved, and to check and balance my efforts, and hold a vision.
It is my honest and true belief that together we can stop this WHOLE project, and we can only do it together, with clear vision.
What if we considered joining the efforts to grow our region with economic responsibility, and offered assistance toward that end? Many are already working on that…
WE are the checks and balance that these officials need, and many of them would like to discredit ourselves and our actions.
I recognize my own need to check and balance myself in this effort, and stand together with my people to protect our resources.
Because there have been systems put in place to that end, it is time for us as citizens to check and balance the energy and actions of the politicians who make decisions for our lives and crucial ways
As long as citizens sit back, the politicians step up––and not to the plate–– but to push for what they believe feeds their interests.
We are all in the same boat, it’s all hands on deck,
and when we think every drop that we add or subtract…

our ripples have the potential to save what drops remain.

For more information about Woodstock’s, Kingston’s, Ulster’s & the Hudson Valley Region’s efforts on this Niagara Proposal please check out the following links: 

Me and my Hetty McGee

When I was in my early twenties, I had the great fortune of coming to know and Love Hetty (McGee) Maclise.


Hetty By Ira Cohen

We met soon after she moved to Woodstock, from Nepal via London.Our closeness was spent in the years between 1993 and when she returned to London, due to visa complications–– “That One seed in Ok-ahoma in 1968.”

After briefly meeting Hetty and her son Ossian, I had a dream about them. At the end of the dream, she had some sort of swirling emergency and they had to leave. I was left standing in their apartment in New York City, with all of her belongings.

Hetty was a wild woman who danced with ribbons and lace, across the bridge from the Beat Era into the Psychedelic swirl of the 60’s, up into the Himalayas and back to “civilization” in time to catch the new Millennium from her comfy Victorian seat.

She was a multi-instrumentalist and vaudevillian style traveling circus troupe member, a poet and artist. She worked as an illustrator for Haight-Ashbury bible The San Francisco Oracle, while living with the Grateful Dead in the famous castle.  Timothy Leary married she and Angus Maclise in Golden Gate park.

The stories she shared with such fervor and excitement were flavorfully colored with her zest for all things wild and wondrous.
She was easy to love and sometimes overwhelming to live with, and I did both, thankfully.

On the afternoon Hetty left Woodstock for the airport to London, we had one last cup tea together.

Her tea was so distinct, sometimes I make a cup just how she did to feel a bit of her… She brewed English tea in an old porcelain pot and delivered it to her guests on an antique tray. Beside the pot were two bowls, one with sugar and one with powdered milk. It cost a lot on a pension to buy milk, so a little spoon of white flakes did the trick.

We drank our tea with melancholy reverence, shared a few tales of our times together and then her friend came to drive her away.

I knew I would never see her again.

She had rented her apartment to a dharma practitioner who, turned out––coincidentally, she had met in Paris in the 60’s wearing only a fur coat. The woman would not arrive for a week.

She told me to go back to the apartment and take whatever I wanted. She had given me an old chest, which I now keep my filled diaries inside.

I went back upstairs to the second floor over the Woodstock town green, and stood in her apartment––full of her things and missing the heart that had collected it all.

She had taken her teapot, and the piano scarf that she laid over her table where she did her phone readings for the Psychic Network the past year and a half. The spot where her shrine had lived was empty.

Her bed tidily made, in her one room apartment, I felt like I was in a surreal dream… Or perhaps it was a Deja vu, or the result of a prophetic dream I had dreamed years prior.

But there I was, standing in her apartment with much of her belongings… She in a car, with that train fever she told of, hours ahead of schedule on the way to the airport.

There was nothing more to take… She had given me so much to hold in my memory.. In my heart… And the one chest was quite enough.

I went to the bathroom, to pee… one last time and noticed one more thing,  the note above the toilet paper roll.

The one thing that would always remind me of the wisdom she shared amongst all of those tales of adventure and lure…

I peeled the little reminder I had taken in every morning when I lived with her in that one room apartment…. and put it inside the little chest.

Don’t be the shit servant of mental projections.

A piece inspired by this love…

Namtok- by Christina Varga

Hetty’s Blog

Ira Cohen on those times

Some of Angus & Hetty’s Music



The Hudson Vally is being spotlighted again, as a resource of creativity, environmental beauty and sold as a getaway. And the Chambers Of Commerce sure are selling their towns… While a city like Kingston, NY strugglings to be part of the hype, they are shooting themselves in the foot by even considering to allow Niagara Bottling Corp to tap one of our most prized resources. Cooper Lake.Rachel's Cooper LakeOur Glorious Cooper Lake.  Continue reading

Connections | Rest In Power

This day, September Eleventh, is one that many take to remember sadness and loss and death and destruction. But there were also, some pretty creative people born on this day too… Mickey Hart, Victor Wooten, Harry Connick Jr, Moby, Kristy McNichol, Lola Falana, Tommy Shaw, Brian DePalma… It is also the day we lost Peter Tosh…

Rest In Power. Image from the Peter Tosh Facebook Page

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Milestones; The big 16

I ran into a friend in the store yesterday. Her family goes back in my life as far as I can recall. She asked me how my son was doing and I told her.

He is in a great school, he has amazing friends, he is making music and he is absolutely a lovely human being. (well, most of the time, let’s not push it… He is a teenager after all…) She got the biggest smile on her face and she said, “THAT IS INCREDIBLE NEWS!!!”

Because it is! Continue reading

Live in love


One year ago today, Earth Day, my Father Passed.
We can watch others process the loss of a parent, we can try to imagine what it may feel like to lose a parent, but we never really know what it will feel like until it happens.

And when it happens, suddenly, everything that comes with the word “Adult” is yours to be. All of it. Embrace loss, responsibility, embrace loneliness, embrace Mortality, because it is yours now. But the true gift happens when we embrace our fullness. And the fullness of connection too because if you open to it, it can be a beautiful exchange.

They call it death, and we place such heavy energy on it, we fear our own, we cling to others in hopes it will not happen to them. But it does happen to them, and to me and you and her and him… We all do it, so why is it so hard to accept?

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