Tag Archives: Robin Wall Kimmerer

Spring is in the Air!!

Happy International Women’s day from the Kerry Farm Ice Rink, where spring is in the air.

How can I tell?

Ravens and magpies are more in evidence, swooping low. Dogs, young and old are chasing the ravens and magpies, even though we all know that dogs can’t fly.

The light is different. The March skies are starting to come.

I can skate and skate and skate until I am tired. Which is different from skating until I freeze!

The trails on our rink are sinuous and meandering, I love to follow their curves. I imagine I am a world famous speed skater (although Iin reality I skate quite slowly!) As I skate I think of the female leaders (from young to old) whose very integrity means they say what they have to say, quietly and succinctly. I am hungry for this kind of integrity in our public life. I think of all of the women in my life – my mother  and mother-in-law and grandmothers and aunts and sisters in law, my cousins, my daughters and their friends, my own friends – the women who have taught me about integrity and so much else. My skating weaves this way and that, giving thanks for all of these women, giving thanks for this day, this place, the very miracle of moving on a thin steel blade across ice.

Mia is digging….a snow sculptor

made in a cake pan, celebrating the last full moon

the layers on the inside of a snow drift

Last week, the North wind blew forming beautiful snowdrifts on the rink. Hello, Snowdrifts…this week I have been coming to know snow drifts, up close and personal. In clearing trails, I notice all of the layers of snow, some with grit in them, others pure white, some soft, some quite hard. Snowdrifts are best removed a layer at a time, and as I make a crack in the snow, the drift separates how it wants to…usually with lovely soft curves, just like the ice rink. Each piece of snowdrift is so beautiful. I place each one carefully along the sides of the paths. They look to me like a line of ancient women…standing in many different postures with the blue bowl of prairie sky as a backdrop. In the book I am reading, Braiding Sweetgrass,  Robin Wall Kimmerer describes learning how to basket weave. As she weaves, she feels as if she participates in “the beginning of a reweaving of the bond between the women and the land.” This is how I feel on the ice rink in a small way – working and playing with what nature gives us, what is already there to co-create something wonderful, and as I am doing it I am befriending  and getting to know the natural world better. In this, too, the women and the children will lead.

I give thanks.

Ripple

In her book, Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “In a way, I was raised by strawberries, fields of them.” She goes on to explain how wild strawberries gave her a sense of the world, and her place in it. She writes evocatively about picking and eating and celebrating with wild strawberries, and also about what the strawberries taught her.

We asked this question in the group of friends with whom I am reading and discussing Braiding Sweetgrass – what about the place you grew up in gave you your sense of the world and your place in it? It is a fine question and we answered with the first thing that came to our mind. It is hard question to answer, and as my first answer (birch trees) did not satisfy me, I continue to think about it.

I am at Christie Lake, one of the places I loved dearly as I was growing up. I return once a year if I can. Each time, I see aspects of the natural world here as if for the first time, or I remember something about the natural world that I thought I had long ago forgotten.

I love to get up early and come to the beach for a swim – usually before sunlight has fully crept into and transformed our bay.

I could watch the play of light and shadow and wind on the water, the sand beneath the water, the reflections from the nearby trees and rocky shoreline for hours. I suspect that I spent many a dreamy moment as a child doing just that. In this dappled world, everything is shifting and changing every moment…it is all glimmers, possibilities, dance. The felt sense I get here belongs to this particular place, and no other place that I can think of.

I can’t come close to capturing this feeling with my Smartphone – which wants to focus in on one aspect of the scene in front of me and give it prominence. As soon as I step into the water to try to take a picture, I create ripples, changing the picture. Even if I could capture some sense of it visually, I would be missing the smell of the wind off the lake and decaying seaweed, the feel of wet sand under my toes, the songs of the birds, the waves lapping, the distant drone of a boat engine, the CheCheChee of the osprey, the feel of this air on my skin, the sound that this wind makes in these trees at this moment. I would be missing the constant movement and interplay of light, shadow, reflection.

The play of light and shadow and glimmer on the water did not raise me, but surely, it played a part in the raising of me, in giving me a sense of the world. and how I see and experience it.