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Updated: Aug 2

All around us is evidence that everywhere is home. Over and over again, non-human beings burrow and nest wherever. And yet we got it in our minds that we need a specific space to designate as home; put a fence around it, maybe build walls and draw militarized lines to claim some places as mine, but not yours. That over there is yours. And anything that intrudes over my line, into my spaces, I have to kill. We hold on to the concrete abstraction that strict variables must exist in order for us to feel home. This idea of home, a place to root, a place to flourish, being contingent on parameters outside of ourselves denies the animal and spiritual reality that we belong to everything and everywhere.

As I evict these plants from the brick walk (all except mystical mullein, connecting the heavens to earth), it is reminder that plants and animals are wiser than we. They carry their belonging to everywhere and everything within.

Maybe when we were in Eden we knew that everywhere was home and we belonged everywhere. But when we were kicked out, we began a long and complicated forgetting. And that's such a dangerous story: to believe oneself as unworthy of belonging to the everywhere and everything that was the garden, that is Earth. To believe oneself as unworthy of home, here; even as every other being homes everywhere.

I don't know how we begin to remember. I just know that in this country, the number of unhoused humans is currently 600,000 while there are over 110 million displaced people worldwide, and 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing. Is this what happens when we don't know that all beings belong to everywhere and everything?

But Eve knew. And before her, Lilith.

Knew they belonged to everything and everywhere just as everything and everywhere belonged to them. Knew home as a given; knew you carried home as birthright within you. That's nothing to punish.

That is the true story of Eden. That is our deeper story. Can we remember?

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I've been gardening for the last eighteen years, the entire lifetime of my middle daughter. Can you imagine? Being and doing a thing for a lifetime? Being known and defining yourself a certain way for a lifetime?

For instance the plants you see beneath my colander: violets, day lily, wood Sorel (or pickle weed), broadleaf plantain, dandelion and lambs' quarters (or pigweed). For a lifetime, I've known them as weeds. As a farmhand and a gardener, I've diligently removed them to plant what I've understood--for a lifetime--as food.

But as you know, I've been on a journey learning these plants. It started with observation: they come back every year; insects pretty much leave them alone; they thrive without water. Observation led to inquiry: they're edible; they're nutritious and delicious; they're medicinal; pollinators like them; they're good for soil. Inquiry led to relationship: let them take over the garden beds; let me learn how to work with them.

I half-heartedly planted what I'm used to planting around and among these new friends. Because you know, I've been doing it for a lifetime and wanted to see what would happen.

For one thing, I water less. That feels good as we continue to vacillate between intense, erratic 100-year storms and persistent drought. For another, I can harvest this salad mix weekly and they keep growing. That feels good because I'm in direct relationship with Earth's abundance. And another thing, I also enjoy these beauties as tea. Which means, as I dry them, I'll have tea through the winter when they're dormant. Which also means I won't have to buy tea.

But my favorite part is this. When I see the so-called weeds pictured above flourishing in my garden beds, I feel contentment knowing they aren't just for me. They benefit soil, pollinators, rabbits, birds, fireflies, and I'm sure other beings I'm unaware of. All sorts of beings rely on them and yet they continue to thrive from early spring to late fall then come back again year after year. There's community happening in my garden. How amazing is all that?

By contrast, the tomatoes, squash, brassicas, eggplant and so on that I've tried to grow benefit the Japanese beetles, squash vine borer, and cut worms so much so that they decimate them. And because I've known myself as a gardener for a lifetime, I kept trying to grow what I was supposed to keep trying to grow; buying seeds and seedlings each spring, feeding and housing yet another generation of squash beetles and hornworms. Not so amazing.

You could say there's community in that scenario too. But it's a dead end. These annuals can't survive the insect pressure, constantly need water, need soil amendment, and need to be replanted. It doesn't make sense to persist in the ideas I've had about growing food, or what food is, even if I've invested a lifetime doing so.

Getting to know the violets, lily, Sorel, plantain, dandelion, and lambs' quarters is changing me. I take the same approach--observation, inquiry and relationship--toward aspects of life and myself that I've spent a lifetime judging as weeds. Maybe the qualities persistent in us serve purposes we can't comprehend yet because we've defined ourselves in particular ways, maybe even battling ourselves in order to be a particular way. Maybe the weeds inside us are life-giving gifts we actually need to thrive. Maybe the things in our lives we wish to dismiss are nutrient dense in ways we can't yet imagine because we're stuck inside a particular story that causes us to be dismissive of what we've not yet developed relationship with.

Sometimes I wonder if that is the opportunity inside climate change. Maybe we're invited to reimagine ourselves so we don't rot on the vine of our worn out notions of who we are, what Earth is supposed to be like, and who others are or are not supposed to be. Since Earth is evolving, using what we're doing to the planet to redefine Herself, maybe we're invited to evolve ourselves.


The plants to the right, alongside the colander: white onion blossoms, purple sage flowers, a sliver of onion stalk, and oregano.

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from outer space you cannot see the fictions we trace

blisterin Earth’s topographies into geographies

of countries for the sake of economies

from outer space you cannot see the fictions we trace

conquest slicing scenery valley and prairie imploded, exploded,

regions claimed through thievery legions forced into slavery

forest, desert and rivers dammed, dissected, bisected

reflective of friction that makes only a few richer

from outer space you cannot see the fictions we trace

land and sea carved, claimed and maimed into partitions

walls and borders to protect the hoarders

keep out the foreigners

except for those governments like to torture

incarceration instead of reparation

the contradiction of land acknowledgment

without the abolishment of colonization

from outer space you cannot see the fictions we trace

buildin’ monuments to dominance

designatin n decimatin Earth’s continents

to serve our discontentment

from outer space you cannot see the fictions we trace

makin islands from plastics streams outta toxics

building mountains from cement

pavement spreading like missionaries

crucifying thirst quenching tributaries

from outer space you cannot see the fictions we trace

dismissin our own species as blight we practice apartheid

refugees and the unhoused sleeping on the bare ground

but the police state building their own Atlantis in Atlanta

from outer space you cannot see the fictions we trace on Earth and Earthlings

to free ourselves from the demolition our fictions cause the globe our vision must be

Earth is a shared biome yeah an undeniable apparition from outer space

but a connective perspective is under jurisdiction of our inner space

from inner space we can trace the similarity we have clarity despite disparities

if you wanna get scientific, every one of us, even the fungus among us,

is made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus

the molecules of you, the molecules of me,

the molecules of all of us is cosmic dust, y’all

from inner space we can trace the face of the goddess in each of us

from the psychedelic chalice of the aurora borealis to the climbin clematis

from the whale, snail and swallowtail to the seal, eel, even lemon peel

from the grand canyon to the banyan trees—please don’t pretend our differences make us different.

from inner space we can trace

the lies that fly the flags,

the lies that draw the lines,

monopolizin Earth into arbitrary territories

from inner space we can trace the fictions,

the contradictions that make us forget

this dome is collective home no matter where you roam

no matter the chromosomes, each and every genome on Earth needin’

air that doesn’t choke us water that doesn’t croak us

soil that feeds us shelter that heals us

from inner space to outer space

we can taste our global need for community

we embrace each and every being’s divinity

and maybe finally

we’ll learn to trace Earth’s example of unity

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dissolving distances between self & other 
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