Yesterday I took part in a day of training for teachers offered by the San Francisco Bay Institute called Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed known by its acronym, STRAW. Under this program my school will restore a local creek to enhance its ability to support life.
The day was devoted to learning about the people who lived here before European came. Coast Miwok Tribe elders shared information and led activities infused with a wisdom, compassion, and gentleness. Edward, particularly, reminded me of a Tibetan lama or a Taoist sage.
Notably absent from was any mention of the many wrongs and injustices they've suffered since the arrival of the Europeans. That's forgiveness.
"What are weeds?" Edward asked, rhetorically. "One of my favorite plants is Nettles. Lots of people think of Nettles as weeds. They sting, yes. But Nettle leaves are highly nutritious—high in calcium, protein, vitamins K, C, and D. They have potassium and magnesium. Nettle stems have strong fibers that can be made into string. Nettles are plants doing their job."
"We might say weeds are life forms that are not doing their job in the community of life.... If that's so, then we must allow ourselves to reflect, perhaps humans are weeds.... As habitat restoration workers we want to stop being the weeds."