A few weekends ago in the woods, as the reaping tide of Summer Solstice crept up to cast our shadows into the light, I felt the flirt of possibility that comes with experiencing one small facet of the world I wish to see.
Sitting around the hearth, just beyond the reach of our hardwired society, our collective shape mimicked the cross-section of the sweet chestnut tree we had coppiced together.
Scraping away the bark (epidermis) the material in-between (cambium pathways) baskets are made from was revealed. A moist material made up of pathways that stretch from the root to the crown and back again, transporting nutrients and water through the body of the tree to balance life above and below ground.
Weaving the undulating local ancestral pattern which Ruby of Native Hands taught us heartfully, reminded me of an ongoing conversation I had been having with my husband. About the ebbs and flows of life, which balance happiness and grief. And how without both present – alongside the spaces in between – life has no shape at all. It remains flat, untangled, without texture.
Like the basket, this pattern of ups and downs weaves our story, individually and collectively. It shapes us like the tides, grounding us to make space for new growth, humming tunes of solidarity, beauty, imperfections, and acceptance.
Yet over the last 700 years, this collective weave we learned to mimic through a once deep relation to the natural world has taken a different form. We stopped including all members of our human and non-human community in the cultural shape of our society’s basket. Choosing instead to create a tangled and erratic pattern, which leaves vast holes or weakened walls for beings to fall through.
As more truth about the genocide grounds (‘residential schools’) continues to come to light, we cannot ignore these holes. Purposefully created through repeated acts of supremacism, an ideology that breaks the natural pattern. Tipping death away from life.
This imbalance can only be healed through collective unravelling and reweaving. A job so big it requires every hand to join in solidarity to create unity, in pieces that have become fragments.
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