Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer
Milkweed Editions

Indigenuous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of the Plants

I am in the process of depaving my driveway to transform it into a greenway.

As a result, I have soil instead of asphalt and I’ve planted a Three Sisters Garden to flourish in the exposed earth. As I’ve been sharing this green JOYney with others, a friend recommended I read Braiding Sweetgrass. I had heard of this book which was published in 2013 and always meant to read it, well if not now then when?!

love love love love love this book!

“Sweetgrass is best planted not by seed, but by putting roots directly in the ground. Thus the plant is passed hand to earth across years and generations. Its favored habitat is sunny, well-watered meadows. It thrives along disturbed edges.”

thrives along disturbed edges

I started underlining and making notes in my books when I was in university and then stopped. I use a pencil now because I want to remember. I want to remember the umph I got in my heart from a phrase and find it again within the pages of a book.

This one … “A people’s story moves along like a canoe caught in the current, being carried closer and closer to where we had begun.”

Later I am stopped by this section within the chapter LEARNING THE GRAMMAR OF ANIMACY. “To be a hill, to be a sandy beach, to be a Saturday, all are possible verbs in a world where everything is alive. Water, land, and even a day, the language a mirrow for seeing the animacy of the world, the life that pulses through all things, through pines and nuthatches and mushrooms. THIS is the language I hear in the woods: this is the language that lets us speak of what wells up all around us. And the vestiges of boarding schools, the soap-wielding missionary wraiths, hang their heads in defeat.”

a hymn of love to the world

I think Elizabeth Gilbert’s quote on the front cover encompasses the reason we all need to sit with this book.

Please don’t wait as long as I did to journey with Kimmerer.

Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot

The one and only Joni Mitchell Big Yellow Taxi

created by robertson mcclure