I’ve been slowly reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass over the past few months, taking a chapter at a time and letting it deepen. Today I read her comments on the Potawatomi language (and its cousins) and how the references, even in verbs, differentiate not between animate and inanimate objects, but between Beings and non-beings (like make objects). It’s not anthropomorphism, but a recognition of the Beingness, or personhood, of so much that is not human in the world, the animacy of the Beings around us.
I feel this most palpably with trees, though rocks also seem to have a Beingness which teaches me. And water. How would our world change if we began to consider the Beings around us not as resources to be used, objects to be mastered or owned, but as Beings with something to teach us? As neighbors and helpers and friends with whom we can companionably share a space?
Yesterday, my sister-in-law reminded her friends on social media to take at least ten strong breaths outside each day. I love that. So this morning, I went and stood on the porch, and breathed greetings to my friends and neighbors: Good morning, Sycamore! Thank you, Walnut! Why hello, Willow! Greetings, Ground Under my Feet! Such a shiny twinkle you have, Quartzite on the hillside!
I think this will be my morning practice for a while now: Breath and Greetings.
1. The song of the White-Throated Sparrow. Who am I to tell him he’s off-key, really? It’s like telling someone they spell their name wrong. He’s the master of the blue note, and it sound like longing, like desire, like all the loss and the hope in the world rolled into a ball of birdsong.
2. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s reminders. Deep noticing.
3. The ways we keep connecting even when it’s difficult. This morning was Worship Scattered (which I am beginning to call Church With Cats), this afternoon is Gang Zoom, and tonight is Family Zoom.
4. I have created my school/office space here with more clear delineation, more intentionality. It both helps me to feel that my work has a Space here, and that I can put up my little screen in front of the computer stuff and walk away. As I was setting things up, Josiah scuttled off to his room and brought his Xbox and school Chromebook own and set them up on the other end of my table. Companionability. I suppose this corner of the living room is not the Schoolroom. I should print out a photo of the little classroom that came off our porch in the little house where my mother taught me kindergarten and my brother second grade.
5. Trails in the woods. We’ve avoided it for so long because of the poison ivy, but the kid has us out there almost every day now, walking his trails, and clipping poison ivy away from the edges. There are mayapples and shelf lichens, old snags and trees with burrows and dens in the roots. It’s a gnomy sort of place. And everything is coming out in bud.
May we walk in Beauty!
“It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.” —Cesar Chavez
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ―Frederick Buechner
“The words you speak become the house you live in.” ―Hafiz
“Humans are the most intellectually advanced animal on the planet and yet, we are destroying our only home. The window of time is very small, but I refuse to believe that we cannot solve this problem.” ―Dr. Jane Goodall
“Memory makes the now fully inhabitable.” ―David Whyte
“Things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance even after the physical contact has been severed.” ―James Frazer
“Which world are we trying to sustain: a resource to fulfill our desires of material prosperity, or an Earth of wonder, beauty, and sacred meaning?” — Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” —John Steinbeck
“Crystals are living beings at the beginning of creation. All things have a frequency and a vibration.” —Nikola Tesla