Tanina Williams of
Amawilc Consulting is a Lil’wat knowledge keeper and a teacher of culture through SD48, the region’s school district.
She recently shared this video, of a spring walk around One Mile Lake, f
eaturing Saopalaz, Lucille Joseph, her mom, who is a knowledge keeper of plant medicine in Lil’wat Nation.
The chance to connect your daily walk, with the plants you see, with the medicines they hold, is such a gift. A huge Kúkwstum’ckacw to Saopalaz and a huge Kúkwstum’ckacw to Tanina for being so generous with your knowledge.
How many of these plants do you recognize? How many do you know by name? How many of these amazing attributes were you aware of? How does it change the way you move through the world, when you can identify these plants?
I was recently in a presentation given by David Abram, the author of The Spell of the Sensuous, and he offered this exercise, as a way of moving into a sense that “everything is alive”.
“Everything we perceive is animate,” he says, “everything moves — although some things, like the ground, or the walls of my house, move far slower than other things. In order to try this, to test this against your own experience, try stepping out of doors and wandering in the world while holding this simple notion: that each thing you perceive or sense is a sensitive presence in its own right. That each thing has its own unique openness and spontaneity, its own interior animation, its own pulse, its own dynamism — albeit a dynamism that may be outrageously different (in a whole range of ways) from your own dynamism. The challenge here is actually very subtle: feel your organism simply opening, allowing something to quietly reveal itself that has always been present yet has been hidden by unnoticed assumptions. Hence it’s more a dropping away of assumptions rather than taking on a new set of assumptions. And notice, as you undertake this experience even just for a few minutes each day for (say) a week, notice if it does not quietly heighten your senses, loosening your eyes and your ears and your skin from a kind of slumber. Notice if you begin perceiving the things around you more vividly, with more intensity, more subtlety and nuance. Notice if you feel the things around you, and the land itself, is becoming more richly present to you, and if you are becoming more present to the place… It might help, at some point, to realize this: allowing that all things are alive — or rather that all things have agency — is not at all a way of discerning that all things are the same, or that all things are one. It is much more a way of beginning to discover the manifold differences between things: the way this pinon pine’s way of being alive contrasts vividly with the way of this juniper; the way the inward density and dynamism of a sandstone boulder is richly different from the dynamism of this nearby chunk of granite.”