Cultural Habitat Restoration

Cultural Habitat Restoration

One of the things about focusing my life on supporting people through transitions is that being willing to face my own is kind of a job requirement. And the truth is, our changes are constant—they simply don’t stop.

My mom said a couple of years ago that gardening taught her that there aren’t four seasons, there are 365. Last year when she drove from New Jersey to Seattle, she observed that transitions across the landscape were marked by similarly subtle gradations. I see this in my own life, as well—how each passing day marks a subtle shift in who I am and how I relate to the world around me, an opportunity to cling and try to control, or to surrender and observe what unfolds. Or—as is usually the case—to do some weird contortion of both at once, a thoroughly uncomfortable and awkward dance...

 

We Are Our Landscapes

We Are Our Landscapes

Five years ago, when I moved to Hawai’i, I was steeped in the question, “what is the indigenous soul?” This term, which made me uncomfortable because I felt like it objectified and homogenized Native peoples, and because I wasn’t even really sure what it meant, had nonetheless seeded in my mind and taken root. It gave a name to a deep longing I felt. One day, I asked my friend Chris Quiseng what phrase indigenous soul evoked for him. Chris responded: “We are our landscapes.”

A Message from the Land

A Message from the Land

What can we do, when we receive a message directly from the land, but respond?

For many years I’ve been working on a book manuscript, and it has been working on me.

The need to write the book came to me in a flash. It was March 2009; I was in Botswana, in the Okavango Delta...

In Search of Lineage, Part 3 of 3, Turtle Island

In Search of Lineage, Part 3 of 3, Turtle Island

Seeking relief along the banks of Pennsylvania’s Brandywine River, I found a perfect spot in the shade of a huge sycamore tree. The tree’s strong roots held the bank firmly in place, cutting a still, deep eddy into the softer riverbank below. The water provided welcome relief from the thick, heavy air. As I floated in the still waters gazing up at the clouds, I dreamed of the lives of my relatives of one hundred, two hundred, and three hundred years ago, imagining trips to the river just like mine...

In Search of Lineage, Part 2 of 3, Ukraine

In Search of Lineage, Part 2 of 3, Ukraine

What were the earth-based traditions of my ancestors?

I am learning that I will never know for sure. Given my distance from the traditions of my indigenous ancestors, I no longer believe this is information that can be reclaimed in one lifetime. But I have learned is that my own experiences of being in intimate relationship with nature teach me far more than historical sources.