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Returning the Gift
December 9, 2016
He who stands near the woodcutter is likely to be hit by a splinter.
-Danish proverb

"We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth, gifts we have neither earned nor paid for: air to breathe, nurturing rain, black soil, berries and honeybees, the tree that became this page, a bag of rice and the exuberance of a field of goldenrod and asters at full bloom. Though the Earth provides us with all that we need, we have created a consumption-driven economy that asks, 'What more can we take from the Earth?' and almost never 'What does the Earth ask of us in return?'" says Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer in Returning the Gift.

"The premise of Earth asking something of me—of me!—makes my heart swell. I celebrate the implicit recognition of the Earth’s animacy, that the living planet has the capacity to ask something of us and that we have the capacity to respond. We are not passive recipients of her gifts, but active participants in her well-being. We are honored by the request. It lets us know that we belong.

"Gratitude is our first, but not our only gift. We are storytellers, music makers, devisers of ingenious machines, healers, scientists, and lovers of an Earth who asks that we give our own unique gifts on behalf of life. Let us live in a way that Earth will be grateful for us."

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