Braiding Sweetgrass

“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.” 
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

I just finished reading the beautiful book, Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall-Kimmerer and feel the need to articulate how it affected me. There are many good reviews out there so I’m not going to attempt more of the same. I simply need to say that it left me with a sense of hope for the possibility of a collective shift in the way we think – away from our current economic models with their doctrine of scarcity and desire for more, toward gratitude for the plenty we already have.

A further joy in the book was the thoughtful look at how immigrants (generations old or more recent) might learn to know and value the ecology of plants that are native to this land. I was a prairie kid transplanted to the coastal rainforest of British Columbia, and while that happened many years ago, for a long time I felt displaced. I think part of this came from not having elders who knew the land; many of the plants, insects, and animals were unfamiliar strangers, “things” kept at a distance, and my later efforts to get acquainted haven’t always been sustained.

Wall-Kimmerer proposes that for those of us who came like plantain (aka White Man’s Footprint) to this continent, and rooted ourselves here, the path to respect for our shared home is to come to know it as intimately as the indigenous people who revered the land as a place that belonged to itself. The wisdom of cultivating this inclusion for all resonates with deep truth.    

This book is a profound invitation to consciously connect with our earth—and I am delighted to accept.  ~ K.L. Denman


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