Monday, October 13, 2008

Essay - We Are the Land

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

I doubt that the tracing technique would work very well for modern Americans, who import our food so that we can eat in perpetual summer. Our food is no more indigenous than we are. And visa versa. Consider the power in eating only food grown nearby.

And what if, for generations, we had lived on that same land, cultivating it, gathering from it, then planting our own spent bodies back into that same ecosystem. Our ancestors would not just be a litany of names and dates arranged on a certificate of pedigree. They would actually be living in our bones. Our genetic heritage would be fleshed out with the same raw materials used by our predecessors. What real groundedness that would be!

No wonder indigenous people know that we do not own the land—the land is us. That land is the matrix of our truest heritage. What we do to the land, we do to ourselves and our ancestors.

--By Terra

1 comment:

A Week's Worth of Women said...

WOW! You did an excellent job of expressing a facinating idea! I really liked this. Thank you.