Our next read picked by Kate Weiner of Loam Magazine will be Braiding Sweetgrass. For those of you who haven’t yet read this, you are in for a treat! For those re-reading be ready for new insights as this book is so rich you could likely read it 5x and still have more to harvest.
Kate, writes “Robin Wall Kimmerer is an ecologist and writer whose transformative "Braiding Sweetgrass" weaves together indigenous wisdom, plant botany, and stories of spirit to create a blueprint for regenerative living that is rooted in reciprocity and reverence. It's at once a meditation on decolonization, a reflection on attention, and a celebration of the beauty of our ecosystems. "Braiding Sweetgrass" has been an integral source of support for Loam as we find our footing in this world by inspiring us to nurture reciprocal experiences to connect and co-create with our community. Kimmerer's writing makes a beautiful world feel far more possible and her passion for everyday ritual is truly cherished.”
What would be in your oath of citizenship to the ecosystem you are in? What practices would you commit to in service of the law of reciprocity?
“On what basis do we select where to invest our allegiance? If I were forced, I would choose Maple Nation. If citizenship is a matter of shared beliefs, then I believe in the democracy of species. If citizenship means an oath of loyalty to a leader, then I choose the leader of trees. If good citizens agree to uphold the laws of the nation, then I choose natural law, the law of reciprocity, of regeneration, of mutual flourishing.”
- Robin Wall Kimmerer.
How do you identify yourself in how you care for the world? How do you feel when you introduce yourself with this identity?
“We are deluged by information regarding our destruction of the world and hear almost nothing about how to nurture it. It is no surprise then that environmentalism becomes synonymous with dire predictions and powerless feelings. Our natural inclination to do right by the world is stifled, breeding despair when it should be inspiring actions.” - Robin Wall Kimmerer
I have noticed that words like environmentalist and activist are often thrown around in a negative light. I remember in fact that the first time someone referenced me as an activist that I felt offended. I actually went online and looked up the word because it was not part of the vocabulary that I was raised with and this was only 2013! I felt confused because the connotation I had with this word related to an idea of being extreme when the way I was acting (really organizing) seemed like the accurate response to have in the face of what my community at the time was fighting. Now I wonder a lot about why society shames those who are active in speaking up and taking action to course correct the many systems that have gone awry. I am curious when/how others were introduced to some of these roles and what words feel comfortable when speaking about one’s identity.
Image from @hiflorafaunawho made this incredible lei for Robin Wall Kimmerer who was on Maui this last week. Such an incredible offering! Writes @hiflorafauna, “The lei for Robin Wall Kimmerer. Mosses. Lichens. Mgambo. Indian Heirloom Gem Corn. And a whole lot of inspiration from her books and words.”
In a modern capitalist world where value is placed on how much we consume, how does it feel to re-orient yourself into the cycle of life as a heterotroph as shared below?
“Sometimes I wish I could photosynthesize so that just by being, just by shimmering at the meadow’s edge or floating lazily on a pond, I could be doing the work of the world while standing silent in the sun…It would be so satisfying to provide for the well being of others- like being a mother again, like being needed… As a plant I could make the campfire, hold the nest, heal the wound, fill the brimming pot. But this generosity is beyond my realm, as I am a mere heterotroph, a feeder on the carbon transmuted by others. In order to live, I must consume. That’s the way the world works, the exchange of a life for a life, the endless cycling between my body and the body of the world.”
- Robin Wall Kimmerer