Sometimes you hear a thing in passing, on the radio, in an interview, that’s so true that it becomes part of you, even though you can’t really remember who said it or what the conversation was about. The etymology of bits of knowledge that change you, being able to trace them , seems particularly white, a white person thing. Like, if I insist on knowing who said it, and being able to trace where they got the idea, then I’ve bought into the white, wig-wearing European idea that those people therefore own the knowledge, and I only got it from them—I don’t own it myself.
But when it hit me, in that moment, when it was transmitted via various electronic means, and when it reached a bottom dwelling microbe in my soul, and changed it, and started to grow and transform me, well, all of that means it’s mine now.
With deep bow to the people and forces that brought it.
But the idea is this: the rocks trees and fungi are all my nation, are also my grandfathers and grandmothers.
Ok, the credit belongs to the Lakota, and the transmitters were Doug Fabrezio and Alexandra Fuller and the internet and all podcast technology.
But despite being a city kid, and also an adult who has lived almost my whole life on the human-made scum hovering above the earth’s actual crust, where all other creatures live, I can still recognize that, whether or not that truth is in fact true for me, it really ought to be.
A right nation, a good nation, would of course include all elements of the ecological system. The glaciers. The turtles. The fungus that keeps the desert sand from breaking up into individual granules. The fungus on the tree trunks. All the individual bits of life that create our world, the whole intricate network.
It’s not profound, it’s basic. It’s a tragedy that it took me until 37 to hear this idea, and believe it, and try to own it.