"As the writers and ecological stewards Vandana Shiva and Robin Wall Kimmerer teach us, to be among the living, to be life, means to be in dependence, always and forever, whether you like it or not. It means, whether you like it or not, you are the beneficiary of a largesse so large, and so deep, you will never in one lifetime get to the bottom of it. Like it or not, you will never pay it back or settle it up, even if you devote your every waking second to the task."
Ross Gay, Inciting Joy
"We all are made of these stories, even if we do not know them. People saved these seeds because they loved these seeds, and they thought we might love them, too, despite-and it's crucial we remember this--those people, sometimes, having just barely survived a drought or a famine or being rounded up on a forced march or put into the hold of a ship to hell. Whoever saved the seed loved us before they knew us. And some of them loved us as their world was ending. Our gardens archive that love."
"If we pay just a little bit of attention in a garden, we notice that it's constant, this sharing."
"And why is this back and forth--another word for which is sharing; another phrase for which is mutual aid--the gardener's disposition or, maybe more to the point, practice? Because a garden--a healthy, thriving garden-tells us to. I suspect, whether we know it or not, we're just emulating the garden, which is a repository of sharing."
Gardens are simultaneously a material and a spiritual undertaking. That’s hard for scientists, so fully brainwashed by Cartesian dualism, to grasp. “Well, how would you know it’s love and not just good soil?” she asks. “Where’s the evidence? What are the key elements for detecting loving behavior?”
That’s easy. No one would doubt that I love my children, and even a quantitative social psychologist would find no fault with my list of loving behaviors:
• nurturing health and well-being
• protection from harm
• encouraging individual growth and development
• desire to be together
• generous sharing of resources
• working together for a common goal
• celebration of shared values
• sacrifice by one for the other
• creation of beauty
If we observed these behaviors between humans, we would say, “She loves that person.” You might also observe these actions between a person and a bit of carefully tended ground and say, “She loves that garden.” Why then, seeing this list, would you not make the leap to say that the garden loves her back?
The exchange between plants and people has shaped the evolutionary history of both.
Excerpt from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer
“People often ask me what one thing I would recommend to restore relationship between land and people. My answer is almost always, “Plant a garden.” It’s good for the health of the earth and it’s good for the health of people. A garden is a nursery for nurturing connection, the soil for cultivation of practical reverence. And its power goes far beyond the garden gate—once you develop a relationship with a little patch of earth, it becomes a seed itself."
Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Kimmerer
"Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength-in search of my mother's garden, I found my own."
Alice Walker, In Search of our Mother's Gardens, 1967
"White supremacy is what is destabilizing the earth system, not ‘humanity.’"