I can attest that, as a student of biology in the early 90’s, anthropomorphism and personification were frowned upon. Plants and animals were to be viewed through a scientific lens and were largely regarded as an increasingly complex series of cellular structures and chemical cascades, all with the end goal of passing on genes to subsequent generations. Dissatisfaction and dissent with this view were not often expressed, and recognition of the wonder of nature was quite beside the point – only Sir David Attenborough could get away with talking like that!

So, imagine my delight in recently hearing a CBC radio interview with Robin Wall Kimmerer, professor of plant biology and author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants about her belief in the “personhood of nature.”  Ms. Kimmerer’s enchantment with our natural world and recognition of how, even when we cultivate a quality of attention to our “life sources”, language can fail us, resonated. Ms. Kimmerer’s discussion and use of language herself were by turns lyrical and thought-provoking in the 45-minute conversation with CBC radio’s Mary Hynes.

For those that appreciate the beauty, wonder, and life force itself inherent in the water, rocks, and flora and fauna of Georgian Bay, this is recommended listening – perfect for (yet another) rainy, contemplative day. 

by Trudy Irvine, Member of Education Committee