Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Gathering Society

Barb Barton brought us together in Lansing this past Sunday. Women from Michigan towns (and Noel from Valparaiso, IN) who are gatherers, foragers, wildcrafters, spinners, artists, storytellers, musicians, singers, biologists, First Nation elders, healers, teachers, leaders. And children. We shared food. Barb put labels on the tables - Carnivore, Vegavore, Sweetivore. Everyone brought a dish and the quality was exceptional and delicious. Introductions were made, discussion of future gatherings, we got acquainted as we ate. We made gourd canteens. Indoors at tubs in the basement, we scrubbed the outside of the gourds. Outside in the sunshine, holes were drilled, innards scraped. We laughed, shared stories. Back indoors, rawhide and leather were cut to make and secure the shoulder strap for the canteen. As we cut and stretched, Daisy shared a Cree working song, and the story of the song, thousands of years old. Women sang as they worked, and the men heard the song and asked the women "what is this song?" And the women said it is a song of work, of life, and joy. Beeswax was melted to coat the inside of the canteen to keep the water sweet. Every drink from these canteens will remind us of this Sunday, and the work and the joy and life of women's wisdom in community.

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