The author is Native American. She’s a poet and an ecologist. Her book compares this culture with Western culture: their traditions, their cosmologies, their relationship to the land (both connected), and their notion of property and the consequent economies. But the book is more than that: she also compares scientific (Western) and Indigenous ways of knowledge; she writes about Indigenous culture and language, especially about language as a way of knowledge; and most importantly, about the oppression of Native Americans and the elimination of their culture and language (and, therefore, of them as a people) by the US government.
The book really struck me and resonated with me. I knew about the US government’s attitude toward the Native American peoples (very similar to the Argentinian government’s), but not in such detail. And it resonated with me because since we moved to Beacon, my relationship to nature has significantly changed. At first what appealed to me about my new home was the quiet, the river, and the mountains. Then it was the green and the multiplicity of colors in the spring, the summer, and the fall. Yet after the injury everything changed. Ever since I’ve started going on the deck, the backyard has become my friend and my source of solace. That’s why Mary Wall’s definition of plants as sentient beings stirred many feelings in me. As I was listening, I pictured a forest full of trees laden with leaves, full of life that will create life in further generations. I saw myself surrounded by trees and felt a strong sense of comfort and protection.
And that’s why I welcome this season and the gift of peace she gives to me. That’s why when I finish eating lunch, I’m always eager to go out with my Kindle, computer, and earbuds. I’m ready to receive my gift and thank her for it.