Introductions: Robin Wall Kimmerer
April 27, 2021
By Ruth Dickey, SAL Executive Director
In one of the essays in Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer writes about remembering the rituals with which her parents began days, saying, “Ceremonies large and small have the power to focus attention to a way of living awake in the world.”
And in this sense of ceremony as awakening, reading this poetic book is a sort of ceremony in that it invites us to awaken—to the world of plants as healers and teachers, to the reciprocal webs that bind and feed us, to the joys that await us if only we will pause to look and to listen.
Kimmerer brings each facet of the ways she understands the world to this illuminating book—as a mother, a scientist, a poet, an Indigenous woman, a neighbor, a gardener, an artist, a professor, a steward. She invites, and teaches, us all to look, to look again, to look more deeply. To not be fooled by any single way of understanding how spring arrives, how plants communicate, why asters and goldenrod grow side by side. This is a book that made me love the world more, made me ache to thrust my fingers into dirt, that reminded me a strawberry can be a holy thing.
In addition to Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer is the author of Gathering Moss, which was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. Her work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals, and she is the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.
Of sweetgrass itself, Kimmerer writes, “Breathe it in and you start to remember things you didn’t know you’d forgotten.” This is also an apt description for reading her beautiful works, which remind us of what we too often forget—our interconnection and the sacredness of plants and earth. Please join me in welcoming the brilliant creator of these gifts of beauty and healing for us all, Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Robin Wall Kimmerer presented a talk as part of our Women You Need to Know (WYNK) Series on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. SAL Executive Director Ruth Dickey delivered this introduction.