Each living being plays a particular role on this planet. That’s what indigenous knowledge teaches us. Each being has certain gifts, its own intelligence, story and spirit. Wall Kimmerer says that education should enable us to discover them and use them well. These gifts, according to Kimmerer, are a way of caring for each other. It is a diversity and inclusion strategy developed by the ultimate enterprise – nature, to take good care of all “employees”. Some plants are responsible for feeding hungry animals; some animals should provide for other parts of the system. Kimmerer calls it a “web of reciprocity”. It connects us all. It is not only about feeding and being fed. It is the whole ecosystem interconnected and intertwined. What is the gift you share with others?
When my close friend experienced a loss in her life, she lost a piece of herself. Like when you tear apart two plants growing tight together, one of them loses a big chunk of roots or gets damaged while the other plant does not recognize anything and grows further. My dear friend was missing roots. She met a wise person on her journey, who asked her a question:
“Do you have a purpose in your life?” “No.” Answered my friend. “Until you find it again, I will give you one: Take care of yourself, take care of others and take care of the planet.”
Indigenous teachers tell us that plants are unique beings with their own will. They come where they are needed and always find their place to fulfil their roles. I believe our purpose can shift and evolve, depending on our skills, environment or conditions we live in. Same as plants, we adapt and evolve. Without being aware of our role in the ecosystem, we might feel like we lost roots or we stop growing perhaps. Without purpose, we fade. Do you have a purpose in your life?
My listening to the biotope gained quite intimate qualities. I placed microphones into all kinds of forest places, sometimes without consent. Most of the time, I got no response. Are my microphones not sensitive enough? Am I too impatient? Am I too loud? Is this place dead or hiding? No. Oh, what an anthropocentric approach, Nina!
I decided to talk to them. Loud and clear. Polite and firm, to show my respect and devotion. The land and waters became my teacher, or rather a narrator. Trees started to share their stories, and sometimes I learned something from birds or hungry ducks. I believe that to the attentive observer, plants reveal their secrets. Nature has its own language; what is the sound of a falling tree when nobody listens anyway?