On our way to Austin today – and honestly throughout our entire journey (since leaving RI) – I have been amazed at the sheer beauty of this country’s landscape. We live in a stunning place y’all! Just minutes after leaving every major city, and stretching for hours on end, we see woods, farmland, pastures, groves, rivers, and lakes. The scenery is refreshing.
Last night, we watched a film about the struggles of Wangari Maathai and the Greenbelt Movement in Kenya. The film is called Taking Root. When Wangari was a child, she went to the river to collect water for her mother. When she bent over to collect the water, she could see tadpoles and frog eggs. To her young eyes, the eggs looked like jewels that she wished to wear around her neck. She grew up with a strong connection to the land because her mother taught her to respect and protect her natural environment.
British colonizaiton meant mass murder of native Kenyans, and the rapid deforestation of their lands. The rivers and forests that Maathai and others knew as children disappeared as settlers created space for tea and coffee plantations for export. Land once deemed sacred became grounds for profit. Colonizers stripped areas so bare that entire rivers dried up: anything for a profit.
Watching the movie made me think of my own connection to the natural environment. How have we been raised to see the land that we walk on? Is it scenery? Or is it sacred? Our culture(s) should teach us to revere trees, plants, and rivers. But, for the most part, we do the opposite. Our relationship with the earth is an afterthought.
I am thinking this morning about the indigenous peoples of this earth, and how far we have traveled from their ancient insights. Native peoples connection to the land meant security and strength. Our insecurity as people has a lot to do with our disconnection from the natural world. I will finish these thoughts later, but I just wanted to put something out real quick…
We arrived safely in Austin after a short stay in Memphis, and a beautiful time in Chicago. More pics and videos are coming….GOOD NIGHT/MORNING!
And…check this video trailer from the film, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai speaks