Native Moons and Natural Mindfulness

This new small group ministry led by Liam and Mike Grreenwood is forming aimed at celebrating the Abenaki and Iroquois lunar cycle and using Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Hall Kimmerer to guide reflections and sharings and recommend getting a copy. The idea is to have an outdoor event followed by an online discussion.

Strawberry Moon, Sunday June 21. “Philo” means love.  Strawberries are associated with generous love.  What fruit or plant reminds you of love and why?

Hike: Some took their own hikes or walks or joined the Greenwoods for a hike up Mt. Philo in Charlotte, VT and gathered to share a bit of mindfulness with masks donned and keeping some safe distance between non-household members. When hiking they looked for signs of generosity and love. What plant or aspect of nature do you receive as a generous gift? How does that invite you into a relationship?

Eat: After hiking, people were encouraged to return home to eat , enjoying strawberries in some fashion!

Reflect: Later that night by zoom they shared responses to the natural mindfulness questions offered for the hike. They provided quotes and writing prompts.

Braiding Sweetgrass, Quotation #1

“You could smell ripe strawberries before you saw them, the fragrance mingling with the smell of sun on damp ground.  It was the smell of June, the last day of school, when we were set free, and the Strawberry Moon, ode’mini-giizis.  I’d lie on my stomach in my favorite patches, watching the berries grow sweeter and bigger under the leaves.  Each tiny wild berry was scarcely bigger than a rain-drop, dimpled with seeds under the cap of leaves.  From that vantage point I could pick only the reddest of the red, leaving the pink ones for tomorrow.  Even now, after more than fifty Strawberry Moons, finding a patch of wild strawberries still touches me with a sensation of surprise, a feeling of unworthiness and gratitude for the generosity and kindness that comes with an unexpected gift all wrapped in red and green.  “Really?  For me?  Oh, you shouldn’t have.” p. 23

Braiding Sweetgrass, Quotation #2

Farmers around us grew strawberries and frequently hired kids to pick for them.  My siblings and I would ride our bikes to Crandall’s farm to pick berries to earn spending money.  A dime for every quart we picked.  But Mrs. Crandall was a persnickety overseer.  She stood at the edge of the field in her bib apron and instructed us how to pick and warned us not to crush any berries.  She had other rules, too.  “These berries belong to me, “ she said, “not to you.  I don’t want to see you kids eating my berries.”  I knew the difference:  In the fields behind my house, the berries belonged to themselves.  At this lady’s roadside stand, she sold them for sixty cents a quart.  It was quite a lesson in economics.  We’d have to spend most of our wages if we wanted to ride home with berries in our bike baskets.  Of course those berries were ten times bigger than our wild ones, but not nearly so good. p. 25

Braiding Sweetgrass, Quotation #3

Our human relationship with strawberries is transformed by our choice of perspective.  It is human perception that makes the world a gift.  When we view the world this way, strawberries and humans alike are transformed.  The relationship of gratitude and reciprocity thus developed can increase the evolutionary fitness of both plant and animal.  A species and a culture that treats the natural world with respect and reciprocity will surely pass on genes to ensuing generations with a higher frequency than the people who destroy it.  The stories we choose to shape our behaviors have adaptive consequences. . . . If all the world is a commodity, how poor we grow.  When all the world is a gift in motion, how wealthy we become. p. 30 & 31.

The Strawberry Moon from the Seneca

by Joseph Bruchac & Jonathan London

In late spring a small boy

whose parents had died

went hunting game down by the river

where the Jo-ge-oh, The Little People

who care for the plants, live.

He shared what he caught

with those Little People.

In return they took him in a magic canoe

up into the cliffs, taught him many things

and gave him strawberries.

He was gone just four days, but

when he returned years had passed

and he was a tall man.

He shared with his people what

he was taught and gave them

the sweetness of the red strawberries.

So, each year, the Senecas sing songs

of praise to the Little People,

thanking them again for this moon’s gift.

Writing Prompt:

What fruit or plant do you see as a gift of love that invites you into a relationship with the earth?  Describe your relationship with this fruit or plant.

Full Blueberry Moon  Sunday, July 5  Fruity Sundaes at 7 pm with Zoom (pairings) gathering. Go berry picking around 3 pm — invite friends to join you. What fruits and nuts remind you of home? Braiding Sweetgrass, The Council of Pecans, p. 11 and Blueberries for Sal or Jamberry. Things Happening in the Natural World: Finding fruit in nature and plants reseeding. Migrant workers leaving home to follow the harvest seasons.

New Haymaking Moon, Monday, July 20, TAM or farmland hiking on Sunday with Zoom reflection and sharing Monday at 7. How can we apply Science and Native Wisdom as we reflecting upon the Real World (Nature) or Commercial World? Braiding SG, The Teaching of Grass pg. 156, and Mad Farmer Manifesto by W. Berry. Things Happening in the Natural World: Farmers working to care for animals.  How do animals introduce us to different ways of knowing?