Saturday, November 2, 2013

Northern gratitude

This has been a beautiful late (mid?) Autumn day with plenty of recently all too rare sunshine. We're grateful for it. Yesterday, because we thought it would be good for us, we signed up for a 21-Day Challenge to express gratitude every single day, from November 7 to Thanksgiving day. In this culture build on the advertising-created chronic dissatisfaction of 21st century life, learning to be grateful for what we have and to acknowledge that gratitude, can make for a much happier life.


We're also grateful for the beauty of the north country which we recently had an opportunity to enjoy. This weekend we managed to get to Birchbark Books in Minneapolis. Among other tr/pl/easures we picked up a copy of Heid E. Erdrich's new book Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest.The stories are good. Many of the recipes look even better. We're looking forward to trying them out. There are some fascinating assessments in the book about how much healthier for us humans non-industrial corn is to eat. We can certainly see, and be grateful for, a certain irony if Native Americans end up helping us caucasians by offering useful strategies for adapting to and mitigating climate change impacts. Original Local may end up next to Original Green in our list of sources for important life lessons. Original Green taught us that if something isn't loved, it isn't sustainable, because no one will take care of it. We're noticing the increasing care that many Native Americans are giving to maintaining and restoring their culture(s). That helps make them sustainable and we want to do what we can to support that trend.


We seem to be dedicated to creating a world about as hospitable to life as the rocks in the picture above. Are we as tenacious and adaptable as the moss and lichens? Do we recognize the wisdom Marvin Bell is trying to share?

Around Us 

by Marvin Bell 

We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane's wing, and a worn bed of
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks--a zipper or a snap--
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.

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