This Is a Living Earth

"If we were right now to lay a stethoscope to the bark of a birch or beech, we would hear the sap bubbling and crackling as it moves through the trunk." - Robert Macfarlane, Underland

Okay, so it's not sentient. But what I mean is living as in active or not inert.

What we classify as inert depends largely on the timescale through which we look. We think of minerals as fixed and unliving yet viewed in 'deep time' they shift, flow like lava, and even have a lifecycle as "mineral becomes animal become rock" (Robert Macfarlane, B-Underland) visible in the layers of earth beneath our feet which may have once been a seabed or a mountaintop.

The Earth is not fixed but by our timing it is. The human propensity to categorise takes over and it is easier to see a rock as unchanging vs the animals in their kingdom of there (yet even there we run into problems of intelligence and classification. Plants and fungi in particular do not always play nice with our categories).

"In Potawatomi, not only humans, animals and trees are alive, but so too are mountains, boulders, winds and fire. Stories, songs and rhythms are all also animate, they are, they be." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass


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