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View Diary: You are on Indian Land. (131 comments)

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  •  thanks Thea. (6+ / 0-)

    I was pretty careful in selecting which of Walt's words I chose to include here:

    "We need to talk to each other about what is happening in our villages and our communities, to share our experiences, our concerns, and our hopes for the future. We need to meet our neighbors and learn from them." 

    Looking back at this diary and some of the reactions in the contexts of Walt's words:

    What I was trying to do here was to talk about what is happening in my community.

    My community: increasingly, it's restricted to communing with the people I call the plants in my garden because they seem to be the only ones who are not interested in waging war--with ANYONE--when they do damage, it's usually accidental. I have never known a plant to deliberately inflict harm.

    The funny thing is, the only reference I made in this diary to who was here first was to the silver maple someone else planted on my parkway before my house was built. If the developer had bothered to talk to the plants first, he might have decided that the silver maple either had to go or the house had to be placed at a greater distance from its spot.

    It took me three years to figure out what the hell was strangling my roses (and my irises, and my lilies, my grass, and everything else within 20 feet of the house).

    The few human beings I remain in contact with know better than to ask me about my "war" against the silver maple. It is not war. I am engaging in peace negotiations with the tree: Look, baby, I know you were here first, and you aren't even on MY property--you belong to the city. But the fact is, you were here first. So, we gotta come to some kind of agreement here, one that allows you to survive without killing off my family/community/friends (i.e., my flowers).

    In the diary, I talked about the beauty of Indian Land. It's a beauty that cannot be owned, cannot be contained, cannot be tamed: it can only be awed.

    Why I have increasingly become a hermit who spends her days up to her elbows in poop, fish feces and fungicide: plants are the only people on the planet I have found who do not engage in petty politics, who do not DELIBERATELY seek to do damage, and above all, who listen. (And anyone who thinks I'm saying Indians are exempt from any of these things has never been to a Tribal Council meeting--I've never been to one, either, but my cousin sure did a dance or two in those venues!)

    The plants are teaching ME to listen: already last year, my rose of sharon and a couple of other water-hungry plants tried to alert me to the problem. IT's like they were screaming at me: hey, lady, there's something wrong here.

    I misinterpreted their s.o.s. signals, attributing the signs of distress to drought. But this year, there was lots of rain, and they were still in distress. So I started digging around, then went out on the net and did some research. Discovered that it was the silver maple inadvertently causing the problem.

    We have got to learn to LISTEN to one another without jumping to conclusions, engaging in knee-jerk, Pavlovian responses to one another's stories. Every one of the "controversial" comments in this diary can be traced back to someone reading into my words something I never said. Sigh.

    In the final analysis, this story is actually about the way I am learning to negotiate peace with one of my neighbors (the silver maple). It is about the way I learned to listen to members of my community and to understand their cries for help.

    Almost all of the comments and petty politics that ensued in this diary were the result of people not reading the words as they were placed on the page.

    I haven't always been a careful writer, and I'm still working on being more careful (see my unthought-out parallel to the N-word: whoops.)

    But at this point, I am a pretty damn careful writer, I try to choose my words carefully--doesn't do a damn bit of good when readers don't reciprocate.

    I confess: I'm seeing a shrink these days, cause I can't get a grip on all the death and destruction all around me. I recently told my shrink that the reason I prefer the company of PLANTS is that plants COOPERATE, they LISTEN, and they talk. They are teaching me to develop my own better listening skills.

    In the diary, I tried to put what Walt said in practice, to share my experience, express my concerns....to tell a couple of simple stories about my life. And whoops! All kinds of people coming to all kinds of conclusions based on things I never even said!

    Man, peace sure don't come easy--especially when people don't step back long enough to actually read what someone has written, to actually LISTEN to what someone has said.

    And with that....my plants are calling.

    Just trying to point out this part of why peace is so hard to achieve amount the community of people we call humans. I recently deleted what might have been a successful diary because as soon as I posted it, someone came in, focused on ONE line in what was a pretty long piece, and just kept harping and harping, clinging to what that person thought was the IMPLIED intent of the statement. In that instance, I just deleted the thing because after three years in the garden with the plants, I know what peace looks like. And the more time I spend in peace, the less time I have for war.

    Poof! the diary was gone. (Whether that's a violation of protocol, I know not. If so, I'm sorry. But I will NOT engage in warlike behavior, petty politics, or anything else of the sort).

    I try my best to choose my words carefully; when I fail, and someone points that out, I try to learn from that. Even then, I don't always succeed.

    And it's the same thing with the garden: oh, Ms. Rose of Sharon, it wasn't the drought you were trying to get me to figure out, it was the strangulation.

    Whew! Glad we got that one under control! ;-)

     

    •  Joy Harjo's words . . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grumpelstillchen, marina

      "Remember the earth whose skin you are:

         Red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth,
         brown earth, we are the earth.
         Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
         tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
         listen to them. They are alive poems.
         Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows
         the origin of this universe."

         ("REMEMBER," lines 11-18; from She Had Some Horses)

      Check out CITIZENS CLIMATE LOBBY http://www.citizensclimatelobby.org/

      by thea lake on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:27:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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