The land is the real teacher. All we need as students is mindfulness. Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart. –-Robin Wall Kimmerer, from “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants”
Fields Full Daisy Fleabane
These tiny flowers refused to go unnoticed on Earthseed Land! They started arriving a few weeks ago, and now they’ve managed to fully inhabit significant swaths of land. Erigeron annuus is their formal name, but the children and I refer to them as ‘tiny daisies’. Once you take the time to notice them, you’ll begin to see them most everywhere: along roads, trails, in fields and even in areas full of waste.
Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “Names are the way we humans build relationship, not only with each other but with the living world.” I struggle with feelings of awe and humility every time I sit to write this blog. How could I, not formally trained in anything plant-related have anything to say about the natural world? And yet, there is a deeper longing to reconnect that pushes me forward. I believe there are some other truths, not found in a university setting that nature bountifully reveals to us.
Flowers carry have a strong message to share with us attentive humans, astounding us with their beauty, even in the most inconspicuous or neglected spaces. There are so many times when I become overwhelmed by the ugliness of this world: so much hate, anger, violence and harm. In those moments I find myself running towards nature, towards wild spaces where I can once again remember my very tiny place in the grandness of things. Where I can remember to see beauty, determined to grow strong even in the midst of chaos.
There are also moments when I can lose sight of the beauty we are collectively bringing to life on Earthseed Land. Our complex human tendencies to fragment ourselves and each other, take things personally, make assumptions, mislabel things/people, can make it difficult (to say the least) to stay committed to a grander purpose: one that precedes us and hopefully will live on beyond us. And yet, we persevere, believing that beauty and brokenness can coexist. Believing that it is our ability to embrace both that brings us closer to wholeness.
And since as a human being I cannot allow myself to be fragmented into a Negro at one time, a woman at another, or a worker at another, I must find a unifying principle in all these movements to which I can adhere… This, it seems to me, is not only good politics but may be the price of survival. – Pauli Murray
PHOTOS: Pictured above is the field just behind our pond chock-full of Daisy Fleabane. Pictured here is a close-up. To learn more about this plant friend, please visit Henriette’s Herbal Homepage (thanks to my dear friend, Planty Kim for this great resource!)