Week 4: Braiding Sweetgrass


Week 4: Embracing Sustainable Living Through Braiding Sweetgrass

The fourth week of reading Braiding Sweetgrass focuses on the theme of the book – Braiding Sweetgrass. The stories shared in this section are not only educational but also thought-provoking. It takes us on a journey inspired by the natural world. This week’s reading helps us understand the importance of considering the environment in our daily lives.

The first chapter, Putting Down Roots, talks about the significance of home and the relationship between people and the land they inhabit. The author highlights how the Indigenous community of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she visited, looks after the land they call home.

Umbilicaria: The Belly Button of the World, discusses the distinctive features of the Umbilicaria lichen and the role it plays in connecting different species in the ecosystem. The lichen is considered the “Belly Button of the World” as it is the starting point for the growth of other organisms. This chapter poses a valuable lesson that emphasizes the importance of the symbiotic relationship between different species and how their benefits can intertwine for the continuity of life.

In Old-growth Children chapter, the author shares experiences of merely “being” in nature, highlighting its significance in our lives. The author shows that it is essential to live sustainably now to leave enough resources for future generations, our old-growth children. I felt drawn to the idea of living more sustainably, but it could mean lowering our quality of life. The author suggests that it is possible to live sustainably, have a high-quality life and return ecological benefits to the earth.

The chapter, Witness to the Rain, takes us on a sensory journey, taking in the beauty, harmony, and music of rain. In a world where we are so often told that our unique abilities are our great assets, allowing pause to witness and appreciate the sound of rain helps us cultivate a sense of humility. The last time I meditated while listening to the rain was a not too long ago, the author shows us how we should learn from and do this more often.

Putting Down Roots

  • Were you familiar with Carlisle, Pennsylvania prior to this chapter?

Umbilicaria: The Belly button of the world

  • How can different species benefit each other?

Old-growth children

  • Do you think living sustainably means lowering your quality of life?

Witness to the Rain

  • When did you last meditate while listening to the rain?