relationship to place

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and The Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions, 2013.

Kimmerer speaks a lot about relationship to place and how our observations of nature have always catered to our general understanding of how mechanisms in our world work. Throughout human history we’ve tattered our connections to both place and to other beings.  What are the questions we can routinely ask ourselves? What are changes in our lives that can alter our relationship to place and people? Kimmerer puts strongly, “Immigrants cannot by definition be indigenous. Indigenous is a birthright word. No amount of time or caring changes history or substitutes for soul-deep fusion with the land.” I agree... nobody can feel the things that children of that land have felt.  similarly, what our ancestors passed down to us—the pain, love, support, victories and stories—can never be felt by a person who doesn’t share the same ancestry. She mentioned how she had discomfort in places where she couldn’t read street signs: the lack of familiarity brought her loneliness. For me, walking through unknown paths gives me solace and new understandings. There are new perceptions to be made, different experiences to be had, and new hideaway spots to be found. It’s like putting on a new skin.  And that skin is a blank canvas on which strangers can paint — and I to them.

I’ve always felt like I have more than one home and I think that speaks to my want of new scenery and energies. I feel that travel changes our perception of time depending where we are whether it be a time zone difference or a cultural difference where the same traditions might appear at different times. Perfectly explaining the speed and lulls of time through different life cycles on page 207, “Time is not a river running inexorably to the sea, but the sea itself-- It’s tides that appear and disappear , the fog that rises to become rain in another river. All the things that were will come again,” while this quote speaks on time I feel it also relates to how I see life. Everything we do impacts one or more people at a time and also by improving ourselves we impact others in positive ways just like how the fog rises to become rain in another river. There are tides of productivity and inspiration and emotions and disassociation and presentness and resentment and acceptance and appreciation and anxiety and negativity. It all flows through us like different bodies of water and currents and waves and tsunamis even. “Grief and fear still sit in the shadows, behind the glimmer of hope.” P. 211, “All things have a purpose and that we must not interfere with it’s fulfillment.”

ailurophile era