The Land and the Waters are Speaking. Are we listening?

No, we aren’t. We don’t even know how to really hear, anyways. Or, more accurately, we’ve forgotten.

Last night, I went to an event at Harvard Divinity School titled “The Land and Waters are Speaking: Indigenous Views on Climate Change” exploring the spiritual implications of our planetary crisis. As the event description states about the two speakers/storytellers: “Two indigenous leaders – Nainoa Thompson and Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq (Uncle) – have both been identified by their communities as messengers who are sharing their wisdom with us as we try to heal this broken world together, and they will guide us through these challenging questions as they reflect on their traditions and spiritual practices. Storytelling is a form of bearing witness to change as we contemplate what it means to be responsible citizens in the Anthropocene.”

These two, along with the program hosts, including Terry Tempest Williams, created a sacred space in the midst of those academic halls last night. Those of us in the filled-to-capacity room were riveted by Nainoa and Uncle. Time fell away, and we were in their stories. It can be rare to feel so vulnerably human when you’re in the midst of an institution like Harvard, but they made it so last night. I’m so grateful my time here has overlapped with Terry’s visionary way of making this space meaningful far beyond our own academic pursuits.

When I got home from the event, I wrote 8 or so haikus, pulling language from the speakers as well as my own reflections. Here they are:

(Mostly) Haiku’s about The Land and Waters are Speaking

Will we listen, or
have the wisdom to hear
what they say?

These voices have been
too long ignored in these halls
but today, they are
our storytellers

An elder takes you
by the hand and walks you through
the window of time

He was our teacher
helping us learn and grow
over 30 years

You cannot protect
what you do not understand
listen to the earth

Well, how shall we live?
Ancient teachings, modern times
You are worth loving.

The implication
of climate change, of our home
is right inside you

Can you imagine?
Melting the ice in your heart
It can change the world.

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