Discover more from UPROOTED
undercurrents (issue #1)
invitation into awe, lichen awareness, and Karuk foodways
In my main essays on UPROOTED, I explore many larger-than-life issues that can feel heavy with no clear paths forward. undercurrents is my new sub-newsletter intended to nurture lightness and movement. With bi-weekly dispatches, these roundups will be a respite and a calling for us to pay more attention to the underground shifts and joyful composting already happening at different scales.
This is an experimental outlet for me subject to evolution, but for now, you can expect every issue to feature the following:
something inspiring—an uplifting story, gentle notes of affirmation, or other words of guidance;
something creative—Earth or community-inspired art, poetry, music, or prompt inviting you into a creative practice;
something mind-shifting—a thought-provoking read or resource, or a prompt of expansive imagination;
something moving—initiatives already contributing to collective transformation;
and something open-ended—working thoughts that I am playing with… anything goes but the intention is to be led by curiosity and wonder.
Welcome to the first issue of undercurrents.
1. “Embrace the joy as much as the fear…”
“What I would invite people to do is to just sit back and be in awe for a second. Take that as an invitation to think about what we can do, what we're capable of, what we can contribute, and what we might have already contributed without even realizing it.
It allows you to embrace the joy as much as we embrace the fear and the dread. That's something that is both a challenge for me and that is getting me through the hard moments.” –Eshe Lewis, “Black anthropology and streamlining storytelling” via Green Dreamer.
2. Chími Nu’am, a cookbook by Sara Calvosa Olson (Karuk)
Sara Calvosa Olson (Karuk) is a food writer and editor whose work “dwells at the intersection of storytelling, Indigenous food systems, security, sovereignty, reconnection, and recipe development.” Sharing inventive Native food styles from across California through over 70 seasonal recipes and 100 photographs, Calvosa Olson designed Chími Nu’am to be an accessible introduction to a decolonized diet.
As she writes, “Think of this as a reverse cookbook. It isn’t the type of book in which you find a recipe and then run to the store for the ingredients you need to fulfill your weeknight dinner grind.” Instead, as an integral part of this culinary journey, Calvosa Olson invites readers to forage for and become more attuned to Indigenous and seasonal ingredients—nurturing a deeper connection to place and enhancing one’s role as an environmental steward.
3. The Lichen Museum, a book by A. Laurie Palmer
After learning about the 50,000+ year old Sphagnum palustre carpeting Kohala Mountain and becoming fascinated with mosses and lichens, I was very excited to stumble across The Lichen Museum—which “explores how the physiological characteristics of lichens provide a valuable template for reimagining human relations in an age of ecological and social precarity.”
I will be interviewing Palmer soon for an episode on Green Dreamer (let me know if you have suggested questions!). But in the meantime, I hope you find some inspiration from these five radical traits of the lichen organism, as Palmer notes:
(our ‘I’ is also a ‘we’)
—resistance to cultivation
(we can’t be reduced to use-value)
(our bodies locate us)
(we learn and grow by cultivating powers of attention)
—close association with the mineral world
(we are connected to the rock we devour)”
4. Kibilio (Refuge) Community & Farm
An intentional community rooted in Black and Queer land sovereignty, Kibilio Community and Farm is an intergenerational project located in western Massachusetts. As part of the collective’s long-term goals, they “aim to support the expansion of and sustainability of a just food supply” in collaboration with other communities and justice farms like those of the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.
5. My doodling space…
Today, I dance with a curiosity about the awe of witnessing the beauty of another’s blossoming. When I walk by the ʻakiohala (Hibiscus furcellatus) that I planted and see them flowering and leafing prolifically, it makes me feel uplifted and inspired by this creative and lively expression of the land. It stops me in my tracks, it seemingly pauses time, and it invites me to slow down to become present and porous to the world that surrounds me and that I envelop with my senses. This little moment makes my day, elevates my mood, and motivates me to hold and pass on that light and gratitude. With emotional health being integral to my broader well-being, getting to experience this affirmation of life becomes something that actually contributes to my sense of aliveness.
So I wonder: When I nurture myself and am nurtured to the point of exuding vitality and vibrance, does it also invigorate other beings—humans and more-than-human— who witness my blossoming? Can those I am in relation with—including the seedlings, saplings, and animals I tend—who feel the vibrations of my joyful humming, who might sense the happiness chemicals released by my body, and who might experience the fruits of my love and labor ripening, also feel enlivened by my thriving?
Where are your curiosities leading you? And what are some things that feel affirming, inspiring, or moving for you right now? Whether or not you feel called to share them, I invite you to take a moment to offer attention and heart space toward these shifts.
UPROOTED is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Note: I had hosted “undercurrents” live gatherings before for the supporting subscribers of UPROOTED. These were audio sessions that were more-or-less agenda-less, just going with the flow of everyone’s contributed thoughts and feelings. Hopefully, we can carry that forward in some capacity as an extension of this sub-newsletter. I am also playing with the idea of recording bonus conversations with friends and community members, offering a glimpse into happenings that are less visible—working thoughts in formation, informal projects in progress, unfinished endeavors of experimentation, or imperfect actions of those in conflicting spaces.
What would you be curious to hear? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.