Where to start with a book like this? Robin Wall Kimmerer has created a mesmerizing blend of folktale, indigenous spirituality, her love for the natural world, and the wonder of plants. As I’ve noted elsewhere, along with others, this book is undoubtedly not just an informative read. It’s an experience.
Kimmerer puts you in her shoes, helping you see the marvels and the gifts that nature offers us at every turn. And when you begin to understand the gratitude you owe the natural world, she points out the damage our pompous attitudes and actions have inflicted on it.
She doesn’t offer a list of things we can do to make things right. After trying for years to give back as much or more than she takes, she admits living in the modern world makes it challenging to walk lightly. But she offers inspiring examples of giving back through our conscious attention and gratitude.
If you’re looking for lists of plants and recipes for medicines and tonics, you’ll be disappointed in this book. While Kimmerer talks about using plants for many things, this book is much deeper than that. We are being stalked by a monster of our own creation, which she equates with her people’s stories of the Wendigo. And while this may sound quaint, it’s not. The Wendigo is real, and it may do us in yet.
I give this book five stars. Like all good books, it gets under your skin. After reading it, you can’t see the world the same way again. This book is a gift. But it’s also a warning. If only everyone could see the world through her eyes for a while. In reading this book, you can.