She loves heartwood smoke , it’s medicine
and she walks with it through the rooms of our house
and when I come home,
the sweetness of the smoke revives my prayer.
“Smoke doesn’t give her gift only to some,
forgiveness and healing is for all.”
The white man and red man where meant to walk together.
Historical trauma and unfelt grief
keep us unreceptive,
like hard packed land that won’t take in a seed.
These words are from Braiding Sweetgrass (pg. 207)
“After all these generations since Columbus,
some of the wisest elders
still puzzle over the people who came to our shores.
They look at the toll on the land and say,
“The problem with these new people
is that they don’t have both feet on the shore.
One is still on the boat.
They don’t seem to know whether they are staying or not.”
Perhaps our relentlessly materialist culture
is the fruit of homelessness, a rootless past.
For the sake of the peoples and the land,
the urgent work may be to set aside the ways of the colonist
and become indigenous to place.
But can Americans, as a nation of immigrants,
learn to live here as if we were staying.
With both feet on the shore?