Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

In the wee hours of this morning I opened this book to try to read myself back to a few more hours of sleep. It didn't work because the chapter I was on named "An Offering" was a compelling and very beautiful read.

In this chapter, the author recalls her father making a short ceremonial offering every morning upon waking when they spent their entire summers camping in the Adirondacks. He would make a pot of coffee and pour some out to the spirit of the mountain they were on. Some of the coffee would disappear into the earth and some would make it to the stream and merge with it. As she grew older, she became frustrated with the ceremony because she knew it was in a language that was not theirs and she longed for "real" ceremonies. She writes:

Ceremonies large and small have the power to focus attention to a way of living awake in the world. The visible became invisible, merging with the soil. It may have been a secondhand ceremony, but even through my confusion I recognized that the earth drank it up as if it were right. The land knows you, even when you are lost.

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and I couldn't help but draw parallels between the essence of this author's work and that of Dr. King's. A strong sense of injustice fuels them both and what came out of their lived experiences was something resounding yet graceful that the world can look to and learn from.

The book opens with a touching story about Skywoman- the story her people tell about the origins of the Earth. It brought me to tears. The story is a hopeful tale of where we can (and probably should) circle back to as a people.

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