Writer, scientist, and indigenous wise woman, Robin Wall Kimmerer, spoke recently about the importance of remembering that all beings, from the tiniest microbe to the tallest redwood, are our relatives, and that we live in mutual vulnerability with them.
Remembering that truth daily, and offering all beings our gratitude is, Kimmerer says, the most important action we can take to heal our broken relationship with the Earth.
After hearing Kimmerer speak, I looked closely at my house, thinking of the trees, soil, and minerals who gave up their lives as my husband, Glynn and I built ourselves a dwelling. The longer I looked, the more deeply I began to understand how the white spruce we cut to frame and sheath the house, the Corinthian granite quarried for the hearth, the sand that transformed to glass to let sunlight in, and the iron ore molded into faucets that carry spring water into my kitchen are all offerings of my relatives’ lives to keep me sheltered from the ice, snow, wind, and rain. Each one is no less alive than the rooted trees, running animals, and flowing water in the forest that surrounds us.
Today, in the midst of spring, at a time of catastrophic ecological crisis, I want to try to become a good descendant for my ancestors - for all who have lived before me, and in whose light I walk. I wish to begin what Kimmerer calls a “restoryation” here in this space, with the hope of cultivating a new story of reciprocity and gratitude for my relatives who share this life and offer themselves in my name.