Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

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Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Welles » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:01 pm

Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

I’m a person of great enthusiasms although I’ve learned that they seldom are communicable. When our hearts are moved and our minds and emotions are dragged along for the ride life becomes illuminated. Recently an acquaintance gave me a book with a powerful endorsement. It was one of those rare books that she had read and will read again many times. What are the chances that her enthusiasm would fire my entire being? Not very and yet… Her gift was one of those events of perfection.

Braiding Sweetgrass is the best book I’ve ever read. I was perfectly poised to inhale the heart, mind and soul that Robin Wall Kimmerer breathed into each chapter. Each stands alone as a eloquently crafted essay/story. She weaves the experiential wisdom of her ancestral elders, her scientific community and the love of a mother who raised her family, stories from a naturalist’s life and exquisite philosophical ruminations. All these tales are captured in parentheses of a deep and reverent love of the earth.

I’ve learned, in greater depth than ever before, to appreciate the wisdom of those who live closer to the earth than I. For the first time I was able to feel the creation story of Skywoman and the real ethical messages that it imparts. I learned more about the synergy found in nature from ancestral wisdom than from the scientific perspective but was gratified to see parts of the scientific world heading in a heartful direction.

As I approached the end of the book I realized that a additional small tendril of umbilicus had been created between my heart and the earth. We live on a world that is in dire need of our love. That begins with the recognition that She is a living being upon whom we are dependent and with whom we can learn the nurturing qualities of our interdependence. That is the essence of the ancestral wisdom. How we go about that task will be discovered in scientific pursuit for some and practiced with elder guidance by others. It is one of the great challenges of our time and not yet recognized by most whose worlds are anchored in the market-place consciousness.

This is the best book I’ve ever read. That is the level of appreciation I have for Robin Wall Kimmerer’s creation. It will be a difficult benchmark for some future author to eclipse for I will once more have to be perfectly poised to have my heart opened to inhale their particular wisdom. I look forward to that day and the next 'best book I've ever read.'

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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Sandy » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:00 am

What a magnificent endorsement, Welles! And I thank you for bringing this book to my attention. Not for the first time have I written the name of this book and author down on a desk scrap of paper. I was once before introduced to it and life became busy and so I forgot. I mean to read it now and I think it is something my heart is longing for if that makes any sense.
Love,
Sandy
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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Seeker13 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:54 pm

Sandy,

Bought this book a few weeks ago after you made reference to it on another thread. Trying to erase insomnia, am only reading a few chapters a night. Man-o-man I LOVE this book! The words flow like poetry, touching a place deep inside. You know how much I adore plants. Read the story about the Strawberry Moon right after Tiny and I had again cleaned out my little patch. Am excited to plant The Three Sisters(corn, beans, and squash) next spring. After reading about asters and goldenrod it's crazy how often I realize they are paired in nature. This book makes me think a lot about my grandma and her prolific gardens. I'm writing this looking out the window as the woods are ablaze with color. Thankful of the reminder to be grateful in the abundance nature unselfishly shares. Find myself contemplating the concept of reciprocity and how it works in my life. Once again a book came along right when I was ready for it.

Love to all,
Kim
And Spirit whispered, "There are no limits."

We are akin to the aspen forests, seemingly separated but in actuality, one organism.

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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Sandy » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:31 am

Hi Kim,
I bought that book for my sister this year for her birthday but as of yet have not a copy of my own. It sounds perfect for you and me too actually LOL I'll see if I can find a copy somewhere... A good item to practice manifesting eh?

Oh my heart soars imagining the "woods ablaze with color!" Autumn lives year round inside me... LOL That sappy comment sort of describes my attitude, though, as for all reality where we sit does not really have much of an autumn season... Now flowers...that we have in abundance...Flowers on anything and everything...and year round.... :D :bana:

Love to you and little Tiny,
Sandy

I think I might plant the three sisters this year in the garden...perfect...xx
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Seeker13 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:23 pm

Sandy,
Did your sister like it?

This book has really touched me. Several times throughout the day my mind wanders to the messages contained between the pages. Brought to tears on several occasions. I usually blaze through books, consuming most in a few days... but this one, is to be savored.

Reading about the concept of "An Honorable Harvest."
"A harvest remains honorable when it sustains the giver as well as the taker."

"Asking permission shows respect for the personhood of the plant, but is also an assessment of the well being of the population."


"Overconsumptin is as destructive to ourselves as to those we consume."


""Our teachings tell us to never take more than half."


"Never take the first. Never take the last"


"Cautionary tales of consequences of taking too much are ubiquitous in Native cultures, but it's hard to recall a single one in English."


Yesterday Dave, Tiny and I went to one of Dave's childhood friends house to make cider. It was such a perfect fall day! Sunny with a slight chilly breeze, gorgeous colors surrounded us. Clementine stood in among the apples in a huge box and helped me fill up a bushel basket. Dave then washed the apples, feeding the press, while his friend pushed them down with a board. After each batch was drained, Clementine, our friend Sue and I hauled the spent pulp to the compost pile. Along the way, Tiny got to sample a few herbs, walk under the branches of the most beautiful pink leaved maple, touch glass and metal sculptures, investigate mushroom fairy rings, and watch blue jays delighted for the added feast in the compost. Gratitude toward the trees for the sharing of their abundance and for the chance to share this experience and day with people I loved swelled to overflowing of my small heart.

The press is more than a hundred years old, was used by our friends grandfather. Over the years a motor was attached, but the apples we 'consumed' were grown on the same land as the ones his grandfather had planted. We helped make gallon after gallon of the most delicious cider from some slightly scarred and many small apples(just the right size for a three-year-old) that would have rotted on the ground. They were crunchy sweet perfection, but a packing company wouldn't take them because of being undersized.

After making the cider and sharing a meal we went into the orchard to pick apples. This was Clementine's fondest wish! She'd been talking about picking apples for the past two weeks. It was like watching a nature spirit flit from tree to tree, giggling in delight looking for the most perfect ones to take home to her family. She whispered in awe, "I can't believe it! I'm really picking apples!" I dearly love that my granddaughter is such an enthusiastic harvester. All the while I was thinking of my book. Gratitude flowed and surrounded her like a bubble! It was one of my happiest days.

There's nothing wrong with sappy comments or attitudes! As our growing season winds down and colors fade and winter here settles in, I'll revel in the thought of you in your bubble amongst the flowers and creatures of nature. Much love to you!

Kim

The book Braiding Sweetgrass will definitely find you!
And Spirit whispered, "There are no limits."

We are akin to the aspen forests, seemingly separated but in actuality, one organism.

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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Sandy » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:33 am

((((((((Kimmie))))))))

I am thinking you would do well to write your own inspiring book describing your walk with nature and the delightful spirit world that oversees it. Because reading your above post was a true delight for all the senses...the obvious and the more esoteric. I think on that note I will spend the day making our home an autumn and Halloween masterpiece. Really play up the season big time and gift it to George who could use a bit of excitement.

Oh that reminds me... We went shopping last week and bought our beautiful orange Halloween pumpkin. (You only find them for a couple weeks and they are rather scarce if you delay.) So being rather rushed, we payed for our groceries not paying the least attention to the prices being scanned. But later that night as we were admiring our little orange beauty George asked, "How much did it cost?"

I scrambles around finally digging out the store receipt and started laughing when I saw the price.

The pumpkin we chose cost exactly $ 11.11 :D :sunflower:

Love to you, dear beautiful friend,
Sandy
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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Seeker13 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:10 am

Sandy,
$11.11 for your small pumpkin is both wonderful... and crazy! Depending on how you look at it! Wow, just spent several minutes contemplating the differences in seasons and holidays that separate our two hemispheres. While millions of us are gearing up for a night of sugar indulgence and fright, I expect there are probably most in your part of the world who've never gone Trick-or-Treating, carved a jack-o-lantern, or experienced pumpkin pie(with whipped cream). I hope George gleans as much excitement of appreciating the fall festive decorations, as I assume you will by creating it!

I've mixed feelings on Halloween myself, having had a few bad experiences when I was a kid. While trying not to put a damper on the revelry of others, I've dutifully over the years made costumes, handed out treats, gathered at the village offices for free hot dogs and chips. I'm probably one of the few who would just as soon skip right on over to Thanksgiving. If you can imagine me enjoying cooking great gobs of food, giving thanks and basking in the glow of family communion!

This year I really missed having volunteer pumpkins covering the wire fencing surrounding the strawberry patch. Every time Clementine came over we'd have to inspect the new growth before doing anything else. I guess foraging for strawberries all summer was just as heart warming for me. Will pumpkins grow down there? If you save and dry the seeds of your pumpkin, you could grow some of your very own! I'm already planning on where to plant the Three Sisters: beans, corn and pumpkins, for next year!


Better try and get a few more hours of sleep, it's pajama day at the Center tomorrow, well no, technically I guess it's today! Then on to the village office for hot dogs and chips, while everyone does their best at scarfing as much candy as possible and scaring the pants off each other. Have fun with your decorating and precious 11:11 pumpkin!

Love,
Kim
And Spirit whispered, "There are no limits."

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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Sandy » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:17 am

Hope you enjoyed the festivities up there, Kim. I think I enjoy Halloween more now then I used to as "absence makes the hart grow fonder, perhaps." But I definitely enjoy decorating and building it up as a special day. Our days sort of run one into the other at times so putting a little "umph " into these holidays helps.

I totally understand the Thanksgiving thing...I am the same way. I love it and it is one of my most treasured holidays.
The funny thing is I have all these fall decorations up at a time it is in reality spring time. LOL Oh well for me there are only two seasons anyway...Autumn and winter. I jus muddle through the other two of fake northern hemisphere seasons. LOL I obviously have a screw loose somewhere. " :lol: ;) :roll: Oh well it works for me anyway...so that is the important thing.

Okay better make this short as G is waiting for me...
You all have a fun weekend!
:loves
Sandy
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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Seeker13 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:16 am

Sandy,
Halloween was fun. Tiny was a fairy and Nova was a super hero, 'Super Nova'! They make holidays, even Halloween, feel so much more special. Hope your fall celebrations in the spring were wonderful for you. I love how you try to make everything special for George.

Aleah didn't have a chance to carve her giant pumpkin this year. I had the crazy idea of cooking it up! Crazy, because it weighed 49.5 pounds. I had to have Kenny haul it to the kitchen for me and cut around the stem. LOL! It takes a really long time and several baking dishes to cook that much pumpkin! The oven and toaster oven were full, leaving a whole lot left yet to be cooked. By the way after it cools a potato peeler takes the skin off slicker than slick!

I made seven generous loaves of pumpkin bread and a huge pot of pumpkin soup for Aleah's birthday dinner. That leaves only 64 cups for pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin fries, pumpkin pies, more pumpkin bread, pumpkin popsicles? Pumpkin toothpaste? How about pumpkin jam? Oh, gosh I feel a story coming on! :D

And I'm still enjoying my book!

Love,
Kim
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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Sandy » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:58 am

WOW!!!! That's a lot of pumpkin! :shock: And here I thought I was little miss homemaker cooking up our little pumpkin. I think maybe we got 8 to 10 cups of pumpkin out of it. :mrgreen: I must admit I felt like a serial killer cutting up our cute little Jack-o-Lantern, though. :lol: I kept apologising.
Pumpkins are just so gorgeous. I saved the seeds... They've been in the refrigerator since Halloween so I am hoping I can fool them into growing. It won't help us for Halloween but they will still be lovely our fall in your spring.
Do you have a freezer freezer? You know separate from a refrigerator?

I've been planting today. Mostly herbs but I did find a few Indian corn plants and snapped them up. I'm hoping they will grow and do well so I can use them for decorations. LOL I've never bought corn plants before. It's silly but I haven't had time to visit a nursery for the seeds. Corn isn't very popular down here. :scratch: Maybe it doesn't grow well in this climate.

Well In just a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving! I love that holiday!

I've been practising wrapping smudge sticks. It's very relaxing and makes you feel rather "herby." I'd love to learn how to do it proper and put them to good use. We've got tons of Lavender, Rosemary and soon sage if my efforts of the day come into " fruition". LOL I cannot hear that word without thinking of Chief Bzutu.

Well back to it... :hithere
love,
Sandy
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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Seeker13 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:37 pm

Dear Sandy,
I think anyone who ventures to cook their pumpkin instead of discarding it as a moldy decoration is 'Little Miss Suzy Homemaker!" I think that in itself is showing gratitude. We don't have a freezer, it's so cold here a cooler on the back porch works just fine. And doesn't require electricity! It's great for Thanksgiving leftovers. I'm feeling very guilty I didn't get my geraniums inside before now. :cry: It's been really cold and now have two inches of fluffy snow on the ground. I've overwintered those plants for six years, were so big and beautiful. Since building Aleah's apartment we just don't have the room anymore, "grr," should have bugged Dave more to try and store them in a shop at his work. Don't have to worry about the impatients though, the deer LOVE them! Been working really hard in finding my gratitude for that. Ahh, another plant to feel guilty about! Just remembered I didn't hill in a japonica bush they dug out for the apartment outside heating unit.

The corn plants sound beautiful! Your little corn plants needed a home anyway right? I'm not starting plants from seed like I used to. Really love it, but like you, time is a factor. Some people think that when you get older you should have extra time for other interests. :roll: No such thing yet for me, maybe if I ever retire.

I'm getting toward the end of Braiding Sweetgrass, going to be sorry to finish it. We have Writers Group on Tuesday, instead of sharing my own poems and stories, I'm reading a few excerpts from the book. In the chapter Witness To The Rain, the author finds refuge from the rain under an ancient cedar tree that has fallen on a riverbank. Some of it's branches are immersed in the rapids, the highest ones resting on the other side.

She writes, "This log, inches above my face, weighs many tons. All that keeps it from seeking its natural angle of repose on my chest is a hinge of fractured wood at the stump and the cracked branches propped on the other side of the stream. It could loose those bonds at any moment. But given the fast tempo of raindrops and the slow tempo of treefalls, I feel safe in the moment. The pace of my resting and the pace of it's falling run on different clocks.

Time as objective reality never really made much sense to me. It's what happens that matters. How can minutes and years, devices of our own creation, mean the same thing to gnats and to cedars? Two hundred years is young for trees whose tops this morning are hung with mist. It's an eyeblink of time for the river and nothing at all for the rocks. The rocks and the river and these very same trees, are likely to be here in another two hundred years, if we take good care. As for me, and that chipmunk and the cloud of gnats milling in a shaft of sunlight... we will have moved on.

If there is meaning in the past and in the imagined future, it is captured in the moment. When you have all the time in the world, you can spend it, not on going somewhere, but on being where you are. So I stretch out, close my eyes, and listen to the rain."

Love,
Kim
And Spirit whispered, "There are no limits."

We are akin to the aspen forests, seemingly separated but in actuality, one organism.

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Re: Braiding Sweetgrass — by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Post by Sandy » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:55 am

Thanks Kim, that passage was beautiful..beautiful, beautiful....A wonderful passage to take with me into my day...one I hope will be spent in sheer wonder at what the moment brings. The "mozzies" are out now...so I contemplate whether I dare wander down to the lake to sit under the Shea Oaks? Probably yes...but maybe with a bit of bug spray just to be on the safe side.

I feel for you and completely understand your emotions surrounding your 6 year old geraniums. They aren't just plants are they? ...More like old friends and even confidants....I find these days I often talk to whatever will listen and plants, bless them...have no choice, rooted into place as they are. Maybe if I spent more time listening for them the relationship would blossom beyond most people's expectations. There's time...hopefully. :D
Was it on your FB page that I saw a line of people waiting for their transition? I was thinking of that walking to the post office this morning.... Remembering that we are all "in that line" somewhere. I wasn't being morbid or even fearful just thinking about how beautiful the morning was as I avoided first one car after another. LOL If this were my last day it wouldn't be such a bad one to enjoy one last time....Still I'll be vigilant crossing the road, eh?

Enjoy that lovely cold and fluffy white snow for me... Strangely enough...you might actually miss it if it is removed from your life permanently. I am thinking of the fairies now which grace your spring and summer gardens and wonder if they too delight in the beautiful snow crystals and the depth of winter's glory? Stay warm up there and enjoy all that pumpkin bread! :bana:

love,
Sandy
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

~ Chief Seattle ~

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