During my first year in highschool the school took us on an all girls camping trip to Dallas Valley for two days, the object of the trip was to bond all of us girls who were fresh into grade nine to create friendships. We were separated into different groups throughout the two days doing different exercises with different people, some of the activities included horseback riding, archery, rock climbing, bonding exercises and drug awareness activities. Now looking back to the trip we didn’t get to have much time exploring the wilderness around us, we were told to stay by our teacher and after doing inside “bonding” activities we were told to go into our cabins to go to bed. I never thought anything of it at the time but now that I look back they could have taken the time to explain the environment around us, taking us for a long walk in the woods and showing us the beauty of the nature around us, especially while we were horseback riding, that would’ve been a perfect opportunity, although the point of the trip was to bond us, they could have slipped the information in while we were walking to these locations. Looking back to my highschool and even elementary years I have never had the opportunity of learning about the wilderness and environment around me, the only times we went outside was to play games like soccer or football, or go on the annual Terry Fox run at school, never to explore the environment.
“During the planning stages of a canoe trip, I eagerly annotate topographical maps with portage trails, trail notes, or possible campsites. The maps, without my pencil etchings, indicate buildings, roads, marshes, rivers, lakes, land, and rapids but tell me very little of the social, cultural, or political history of the space beyond those buildings and roads. National and provincial park maps come pre-annotated with campsites and portages (but not Aboriginal history and present, the location of culturally modified trees, the presence of sacred sites, or the existence of land claims, for instance)” This quote comes from the Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History journal, since we did the blanket exercise in class I realized that we never talked about this stuff in my highschool years and I feel like the author had a great plan with this and my teachers could have done something similar with our camping trip to help us to learn about where we were and the history behind it. I never thought of the land we were on as once someone else’s, I just thought of it as a campsite I was occupying for a few days.
I based my third creative journal from Kimmerers Epiphany in the Beans. I was really moved by the thought of gardening when she talked about it because my grandma used to do it when she was still able to and it brought back a lot of memories of being in the soil and eating the carrots and small potatoes right from the garden with the dirt still on them, I think that’s where my love for plants and soil comes from. The smell of fresh rain on the soil, the soft feeling of playing in the smooth soil. In my visual I tried to show the before of what the garden would look like if we did nothing about it with some dead leaves off of my plant, and the after we make our footprint in the earth and give it our love, it blossoms with trees and other beautiful things. “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from one-way street into a sacred bond.” Kimmerer talks about reciprocity, we need to give the garden our time for it to become something, we need to give it our love for being loved in return, which is with natural grown foods that save the environment by using less produced packaged foods, but also connects us with our land and makes us feel loving and warm. Gardening makes me feel like Canada isn’t just wilderness, even the wilderness grows its own plants without being cared for, it grows trees to give us oxygen, but what do we give to all that wilderness, nothing. People just see it as an “empty land” with just trees and weeds, but that’s not the way I see it. I see it as beautiful, undisturbed land which people should spend more time in, embrace the land as see it more than an empty land, think of it as a place to learn, explore, and discover. “People often ask me what one thing I would recommend to restore relationship between land and people. My answer is almost always, “Plant a garden.” It is good for the health of the earth and it’s good for the health of people. A garden is a nursery for nurturing connection, the soil for cultivation of practical reverence.”