Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

If you have time for only one book during the long winter nights of 2017, choose Braiding Sweetgrass. As you read, and your spirit and body open to the sun of the lengthening days, Kimmerer’s powerful prose will shine the light of the beauty of our natural world into your mind and heart through her seamless weaving of indigenous wisdom and western science. Kimmerer, who describes herself first as a mother, then as a plant ecologist, writer, and Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at SUNY Syracuse, takes you into the world of ancient wisdom, a world infused with the magical power of the natural world, its reciprocities and generosities. From keen observation and quiet contemplation, Kimmerer shares with you her deeply rooted traditional knowledge mixed with her science education. On every page, you will find something to touch your soul, to make you think, or to give you hope in a time when our connection to our biotic community is ever more threatened by technological and commercial invasion. Here’s an example, chosen at random:
“I wonder if much of what ails our society stems from the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be cut off from that love of, and from the land. It is medicine for the broken land and empty hearts” (p. 126).
And here’s another – an example of Kimmerer’s blending of heart and mind, magic and science, describing how algae works with fungus in a partnership:
“The algal partner is a collection of single cells, gleaming like emeralds and bearing the gift of photosynthesis, the precious alchemy of turning light and air to sugar. The algal is an autotroph, or one that makes its own food and will be the cook of the family” (p.270).
Braiding Sweetgrass is packed to overflowing with the power of the natural world to produce gratitude, joy, respect, giving inspiration to act to protect all your relatives in the natural world. You will want to remember something from every page, so the added benefit is that you will find yourself reading Braiding Sweetgrass again in the dark nights of 2018.

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