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Monday, July 9, 2018

Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin Wall Kimmerer

Kimmerer became a botanist and ecologist in hopes of improving the land and human's contact with plants. As she got deeper into her studies, however, she felt something was missing and turned to her Potawatomi background to seek deeper meaning and understanding of her occupation.

The book is divided into five sections, following her journey from somebody who views things from a purely scientific perspective to one who integrates ancient understandings into her work. The sections are appropriately named, following the sacred practice of caring for Sweetgrass: Planting Sweetgrass, Tending Sweetgrass, Picking Sweetgrass, Braiding Sweetgrass, and Burning Sweetgrass.

Kimmerer flawlessly weaves her own personal story of family, her professional occupation of teaching, and
the ancient practices of her tribe. I loved hearing her successes, like making maple sugar, which were accompanied by the science of how its made and the explanation of how it used to be made long ago. I also enjoyed hearing of the failures, like making a swimming pond for her two daughters. There are also beautiful stories of how the land and wildlife around us shape us, just like the neighborhood and friends we keep. It was especially interesting to hear how scientific experiments have supported many ideas from the Potawatomi. I was fortunate to be able to borrow a copy of the audiobook from the library. Kimmerer's voice is soothing and expressive.

I had decided earlier in the year to learn more about the desert area in which I lived, and this piece gave me even more encouragement to continue on this path of personal growth. I encourage anybody who wants to seek a deeper understanding and connection with the world around them to read this book.

More by the Author:
Gathering Moss

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