Best 43 of Robin Wall Kimmerer quotes - MyQuotes

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Robin Wall Kimmerer
By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Philosophers call this state of isolation and disconnection “species loneliness”—a deep, unnamed sadness stemming from estrangement from the rest of Creation, from the loss of relationship. As our human dominance of the world has grown, we have become more isolated, more lonely when we can no longer call out to our neighbors. It’s no wonder that naming was the first job the Creator gave Nanabozho.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Something is broken when the food comes on a Styrofoam tray wrapped in slippery plastic, a carcass of a being whose only chance at life was a cramped cage. That is not a gift of life; it is a theft.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Our indigenous herbalists say to pay attention when plants come to you; they’re bringing you something you need to learn.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Plants are also integral to reweaving the connection between land and people. A place becomes a home when it sustains you, when it feeds you in body as well as spirit. To recreate a home, the plants must also return.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

A bay is a noun only if water is dead. When bay is a noun, it is defined by humans, trapped between its shores and contained by the word. But the verb wiikwegamaa—to be a bay—releases the water from bondage and lets it live. “To be a bay” holds the wonder that, for this moment, the living water has decided to shelter itself between these shores, conversing with cedar roots and a flock of baby mergansers. Because it could do otherwise—become a stream or an ocean or a waterfall, and there are verbs for that, too. 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 mirror 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.[…] This is the grammar of animacy.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Infrared satellite imagery, optical telescopes, and the Hubbell space telescope bring vastness within our visual sphere. Electron microscopes let us wander the remote universe of our own cells. But at the middle scale, that of the unaided eye, our senses seem to be strangely dulled. With sophisticated technology, we strive to see what is beyond us, but are often blind to the myriad sparkling facets that lie so close at hand. We thing we're seeing when we've only scratched the surface. Our acuity at this middle scale seems diminished, not by any failing of the eyes, but by the willingness of the mind. Has the power of our devices led us to distrust our unaided eyes? Or have we become dismissive of what takes no technology but only time and patience to perceive? Attentiveness alone can rival the most powerful magnifying lens.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

One gram of moss from the forest floor, a piece about the size of a muffin, would harbour 150,000 protozoa, 132,000 tardigrades, 3,000 springtails, 800 rotifers, 500 nematodes, 400 mites, and 200 fly larvae. These numbers tell us something about the astounding quantity of life in a handful of moss.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

The ceremonies that persist—birthdays, weddings, funerals— focus only on ourselves, marking rites of personal transition. […] We know how to carry out this rite for each other and we do it well. But imagine standing by the river, flooded with those same feelings as the Salmon march into the auditorium of their estuary. Rise in their honor, thank them for all the ways they have enriched our lives, sing to honor their hard work and accomplishments against all odds, tell them they are our hope for the future, encourage them to go off into the world to grow, and pray that they will come home. Then the feasting begins. Can we extend our bonds of celebration and support from our own species to the others who need us? Many indigenous traditions still recognize the place of ceremony and often focus their celebrations on other species and events in the cycle of the seasons. In a colonist society the ceremonies that endure are not about land; they’re about family and culture, values that are transportable from the old country. Ceremonies for the land no doubt existed there, but it seems they did not survive emigration in any substantial way. I think there is wisdom in regenerating them here, as a means to form bonds with this land.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9: 35 a.m., I am usually in a lecture hall at the university, expounding about botany and ecology— trying, in short, to explain to my students how Skywoman’s gardens, known by some as “global ecosystems,” function.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

All powers have two sides, the power to create and the power to destroy. We must recognize them both, but invest our gifts on the side of creation.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

What we contemplate here is more than ecological restoration; it is the restoration of relationship between plants and people. Scientists have made a dent in understanding how to put ecosystems back together, but our experiments focus on soil pH and hydrology—matter, to the exclusion of spirit. We might look to the Thanksgiving Address for guidance on weaving the two. We are dreaming of a time when the land might give thanks for the people.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

How generously they shower us with food, literally giving themselves so that we can live. But in the giving their lives are also ensured. Our taking returns benefit to them in the circle of life making life, the chain of reciprocity. Living by the precepts of the Honorable Harvest—to take only what is given, to use it well, to be grateful for the gift, and to reciprocate the gift

By Anonym 19 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

What is it that drew us to the hollow tonight? What crazy kind of species is it that leaves a warm home on a rainy night to ferry salamanders across a road? It's tempting to call it altruism, but it's not. There is nothing selfless about it. This night heaps rewards on the givers as well as the recipients. We get to be there, to witness this amazing rite, and, for an evening, to enter into relationship with other beings, as different from ourselves as we can imagine. It has been said that people of the modern world suffer a great sadness, a "species loneliness" - estrangement from the rest of Creation. We have built this isolation with our fear, with our arrogance, and with our homes brightly lit against the night. For a moment as we walked this road, those barriers dissolved and we began to relieve the loneliness and know each other once again.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

The word ecology is derived from the Greek oikos, the word for home.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Both were women with feet planted deep in the earth, who took pride in a back strong enough to carry a load for others.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

To be native to a place we must learn to speak its language.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

The exchange between plants and people has shaped the evolutionary history of both. Farms, orchards, and vineyards are stocked with species we have domesticated. Our appetite for their fruits leads us to till, prune, irrigate, fertilize, and weed on their behalf. Perhaps they have domesticated us. Wild plants have changed to stand in well-behaved rows and wild humans have changed to settle alongside the fields and care for the plants—a kind of mutual taming.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

That, I think, is the power of ceremony. It marries the mundane to the sacred. The water turns to wine; the coffee to a prayer.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Sometimes I wish I could photosynthesize so that just by being, just by shimmering at the meadow's edge or floating lazily on a pond, I could be doing the work of the world while standing silent in the sun.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

When a language dies, so much more than words are lost. Language is the dwelling place of ideas that do not exist anywhere else. It is a prism through which to see the world.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

With words at your disposal, you can see more clearly. Finding the words is another step in learning to see.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

It's a sign of respect and connection to learn the name of someone else, a sign of disrespect to ignore it. And yet, the average American can name over a hundred corporate logos and ten plants. Is it a surprise that we have accepted a political system that grants personhood to corporations, and no status at all for wild rice and redwoods? Learning the names of plants and animals is a powerful act of support for them. When we learn their names and their gifts, it opens the door to reciprocity.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Never take the first plant you find, as it might be the last—and you want that first one to speak well of you to the others of her kind.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Among our Potawatomi people, women are the Keepers of Water. We carry the sacred water to ceremonies and act on its behalf. “Women have a natural bond with water, because we are both life bearers,” my sister said. “We carry our babies in internal ponds and they come forth into the world on a wave of water. It is our responsibility to safeguard the water for all our relations.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

But I need to remember that the grief is the settlers’ as well. They too will never walk in a tallgrass prairie where sunflowers dance with goldfinches. Their children have also lost the chance to sing at the Maple Dance. They can’t drink the water either.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Instead I just stand there, tears running down my cheeks in nameless emotion that tastes of joy and of grief. Joy for the being of the shimmering world and grief for what we have lost. The grasses remember the nights they were consumed by fire, lighting the way back with a conflagration of love between species. Who today even knows what that means? I drop to my knees in the grass and I can hear the sadness, as if the land itself was crying for its people: Come home. Come home. There are often other walkers here. I suppose that’s what it means when they put down the camera and stand on the headland, straining to hear above the wind with that wistful look, the gaze out to sea. They look like they’re trying to remember what it would be like to love the world.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

In the Western tradition there is a recognized hierarchy of beings, with, of course, the human being on top—the pinnacle of evolution, the darling of Creation—and the plants at the bottom. But in Native ways of knowing, human people are often referred to as “the younger brothers of Creation.” We say that humans have the least experience with how to live and thus the most to learn—we must look to our teachers among the other species for guidance. Their wisdom is apparent in the way that they live. They teach us by example. They’ve been on the earth far longer than we have been, and have had time to figure things out.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Ruined land was accepted as the collateral damage of progress.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Of an inanimate being, like a table, we say “What is it?” And we answer Dopwen yewe. Table it is. But of apple, we must say, “Who is that being?” And reply Mshimin yawe. Apple that being is. Yawe— the animate to be. I am, you are, s/he is. To speak of those possessed with life and spirit we must say yawe. By what linguistic confluence do Yahweh of the Old Testament and yawe of the New World both fall from the mouths of the reverent Isn’t this just what it means, to be, to have the breath of life within, to be the offspring of creation The language reminds us, in every sentence, of our kinship with all of the animate world.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Names are the way we humans build relationship, not only with each other but with the living world.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

...all flourishing is mutual.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Children, language, lands: almost everything was stripped away, stolen when you weren’t looking because you were trying to stay alive. In the face of such loss, one thing our people could not surrender was the meaning of land. In the settler mind, land was property, real estate, capital, or natural resources. But to our people, it was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors, the home of our nonhuman kinfolk, our pharmacy, our library, the source of all that sustained us. Our lands were where our responsibility to the world was enacted, sacred ground. It belonged to itself; it was a gift, not a commodity, so it could never be bought or sold. These are the meanings people took with them when they were forced from their ancient homelands to new places.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

There are some aches witch hazel can’t assuage. For those, we need each other.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Being naturalized to place means to live as if this is the land that feeds you, as if these are the streams from which you drink, that build your body and fill your spirit. To become naturalized is to know that your ancestors lie in this ground. Here you will give your gifts and meet your responsibilities. To become naturalized is to live as if your children’s future matters, to take care of the land as if our lives and the lives of all our relatives depend on it. Because they do.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

The creek that was once a fishery for Atlantic salmon, a swimming hole for kids, and a focal point of community life now runs as brown as chocolate milk. Allied Chemical and its successors deny any role in the formation of the mudboils. They claim it was an act of God. What kind of God would that be?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

What if you were a teacher but had no voice to speak your knowledge? What if you had no language at all and yet there was something you needed to say? Wouldn't you dance it? Wouldn't you act it out? Wouldn't your every movement tell the story? In time you would be so eloquent that just to gaze upon you would reveal it all. And so it is with these silent green lives.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Our immigrant plant teachers offer a lot of different models for how not to make themselves welcome on a new continent. Garlic mustard poisons the soil so that native species will die. Tamarisk uses up all the water. Foreign invaders like loosestrife, kudzu, and cheat grass have the colonizing habit of taking over others’ homes and growing without regard to limits. But Plantain is not like that. Its strategy was to be useful, to fit into small places, to coexist with others around the dooryard, to heal wounds. Plantain is so prevalent, so well integrated, that we think of it as native. It has earned the name bestowed by botanists for plants that have become our own. Plantain is not indigenous but “naturalized.” This is the same term we use for the foreign-born when they become citizens in our country.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

caring is not abstract. The circle of ecological compassion we feel is enlarged by direct experience of the living world, and shrunken by its lack.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Robin Wall Kimmerer

When a language dies, so much more than words are lost. Language is the dwelling place of ideas that do not exist anywhere else. It is a prism through which to see the world. Tom says that even words as basic as numbers are imbued with layers of meaning. The numbers we use to count plants in the sweetgrass meadow also recall the Creation Story. Én:ska—one. This word invokes the fall of Skywoman from the world above. All alone, én:ska, she fell toward the earth. But she was not alone, for in her womb a second life was growing. Tékeni—there were two. Skywoman gave birth to a daughter, who bore twin sons and so then there were three— áhsen. Every time the Haudenosaunee count to three in their own language, they reaffirm their bond to Creation.