Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.
Her book of wisdom, knowledge and teachings celebrates life that is both ordinary — her simple days as a working parent — and magical, filled with many gifts from good-hearted communities. Her interactions, however, are not solely with human groups but are equally and necessarily with the natural world. She introduces readers to a language of flora and fauna that is readably right in front of them, and nudges — at times, urges — her readers to recognize an inclusive reciprocity with our environment ... The gift of Kimmerer's book is that she provides readers the ability to see a very common world in uncommon ways, or, rather, in ways that have been commonly held but have recently been largely discarded.
I expected lessons, but what I found were teachings—knowledge that’s offered, instead of information and dogma ... This book braids these multiple perspectives into a series of essays that’s coherent and compelling ... In these essays, Kimmerer sends out a gentle, affirming call to act on behalf of our world, using our creative gifts: 'books, paintings, poems, the clever machines, the compassionate acts, the transcendent ideas, the perfect tools.' Being grateful is important, Kimmerer says, but not enough. Everyone must act.
With deep compassion and graceful prose, botanist and professor of plant ecology Kimmerer (Gathering Moss) encourages readers to consider the ways that our lives and language weave through the natural world. A mesmerizing storyteller, she shares legends from her Potawatomi ancestors to illustrate the culture of gratitude in which we all should live.