August 2016

Gathering Moss

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, (Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press), 2015.

Kimmerer - Gathering Moss
Robin Wall Kimmerer is an academically trained botanist who also is an ardent student of Indigenous teachings about the healing properties and contributions to humans of plants. She brings far more than her expertise to this book, however. She brings a creative and beautiful style of telling stories and writing. Her book is a very easy read, yet contains layer upon`lay of complex thought.

Before I had finished the book, she had me getting out my magnifying glass and macro lens. I was inspired to take a much closer look at the world through which I pass every day. Her deep sense of wonder and respect for the ways of pants in inspirational. The book is a collection of personal essays that enables the reader to deepen understanding of the role of tiny plants in the overall web of ecological relationships. She brings many perspectives into her writing: scientist, teacher, mother, student of Native American heritage, and much more.

This book is a great reference for those seeking deeper understanding of Native American culture as well as those who wish to extend their understanding of plants.


Rebecca O. Ulasich and Andrew Ulaisich, Stained: Stories from a World of Beauty and Sorrow, (Rapid City, SD: Shelter 50 Publishing Collective), 2016.

Ulasich - Stained
The Ulasich's got a lot of things right in their time of travel and living with people in diverse cultures and locations. They took with them skills of careful observation and the capacity to listen attentively. Unlike some who go to places of suffering thinking that they are the bearers of solutions, they were able to go, live with, and participate in the lives of those they met.

This book shows remarkable respect for those they have known. They were not careful to print photos that told someone else's story or to show faces of vulnerable individuals in a way that might betray the trust that they clearly earned.

Of course no one book can be a window that reveals the world to those who take a look through it to the stories that lie beyond, but this book is definitely one window that has been opened with respect, care and diligence to reveal a world that is seldom glimpsed by those of us who remain within the comfort of our lives of privilege.

The book is a delight and a treasure to which one will return again and again.