Monday, October 27, 2008

Essay - True Groundedness

Scientists have learned how to trace where a person has lived by analyzing the constituents of their bones. People really are a part of the land. The plants grow up out of the soil, capturing its nutrients. They marry them in their metabolism with the rain and the sun into life. Then we devour and digest that life, directly, or through the intermediary of animal flesh, and make it into our own living bodies.

I doubt, though, that this tracing technique would work for modern Americans. We import our food so that we can eat in perpetual harvest time. Our food is no more indigenous than we are. And visa versa.

Consider the power in eating only food grown nearby. What if, for generations, we had lived on the same land, cultivating it, gathering from it, and then, finally, planting our own spent bodies back into it? Our ancestors would not just be a litany of names and dates, arranged on a piece of paper, in a family tree. They would actually be living in our physical forms. Our genetic heritage would be fleshed out with the same raw materials that had cycled through our ancestors' bodies. What true groundedness that would be!

No wonder that indigenous people know that we do not own the land. And that the land is the matrix of our truest heritage.

By Terra Rafael

1 comment:

molly said...

Really nicely put. You got me thinking more deeply about the land and my connection to it. Thanks.