Nature doesn’t actually exist. You are Nature. Nature is you.

I’ve heard this said – that “nature” – as an entity separate from us, that we need to care for, or enter for our health, or stop wrecking, isn’t actually a thing. There isn’t anything called “Nature” that is outside of us, or beyond us, or distinct from us. It is a concept grounded in a false premise… of our distinctiveness, our separation.

But the colonization of my mind, in which I am, and have been, functionally, for generations, separated from nature, from the land of my ancestors, from my lineage, is so profound, that even when I hear it, I can’t quite GET it. On a bodily level. I have such a strong sense of Nature as being that photograph of the beautiful untouched forest, and of me as me, a being of flesh and hair and brain matter dressed up in clothes… I can’t overlay the two on top of each other.

So, I keep holding on to the idea, like a beautiful smooth pebble I picked up and had to put in my pocket. I keep inviting it to whisper to me: you are nature, nature is you (which is a lot of what decolonizing my thinking has been like, holding on to an idea until it begins to unravel and enter into me…)

And then I discovered @daanis on twitter – the writing of Patty Krawec, writer, podcaster, activist, co-host of Medicine for the Resistance, and host of Ambe: A Year of Indigenous Reading.

Right now, this twitter thread is all I know of her.

But it shifted everything for me.

She writes:

When I say that the land is my ancestor, that is a scientific statement. Dr. Keolu Fox, a Kānaka Maoli anthropologist and genomic researcher made this statement in a 2021 video.

The land itself and the conditions of that land, like altitude and climate, impact our genome just as our human ancestors do. We are born on it, die on it; we come from it and return to it. The land is part of us, a relative in a very real way.

Stones are our relatives. Whatever I eat has taken up nutrients from the ground, including minerals, and the stones and the land become part of me. The thunderstorm and the rivers become part of me.

This land had absorbed the blood and sweat of generations, watched babies become old men and women and return to the earth, return to the waters.

We are part of each other. Civilizations rise and fall, and the land continues. It holds the memory of us all. Standing before a presence that large and that old—and making one-sided claims of ownership—is an act of extraordinary hubris.

Patty Krawec

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