To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

To Be or Not To Be – A Garden

To Be or Not To Be – A Garden


I am working on a new practice, like the practice of yoga, meditation or prayer. It is the practice of becoming bilingual in the language of animacy.





I am starting with my gardens. They surround me daily.




This time of year, I look out any window and see flowers, vegetables, green growth, butterflies, birds, fireflies, insects, rabbits, sun, sky, rain, wind, soil, weeds and more.





I want to know my garden as a “being”, not an “it”.





The languages of animacy knows all of creation is being, an animate being full of life.




Not just the individual parts of creation having life, but the unity of a river, an ocean, lake, mountain, hill, stone, desert, prairie, forest, and yes a garden.





garden-to-be-tithonia-2-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogAnimacy of all having their own essence and sense of self.





In English things that are human or animal are given a name and a gender. And if valued, called “he” or “she”.



garden-to-be-spigelia-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog Things that are outside of this value box are just that, things. They are outside of us, separate, not attached to our hearts. They are called “it” or “thing”.





garden-to-be-tomato-flowers-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogWe don’t give them acknowledgement of being.




garden-to-be-zinnia-raspberry-limeade-blog-creativity-for-the-soul copy

In one of my favorite books – Braiding Sweetgrass – Native American author Robin Wall Kimmerer shares her awakening to the native language of animacy as she learns the Potawatomi language of her ancestors.





garden-to-be-jewels-of-opar-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogIn the book she struggled because the translation of an apple is “to be an apple”, Saturday is “to be a Saturday”, a hill “to be a hill”, red “to be red”. Finally when she saw the translation of a bay of water “to be a bay” she got it.






In her awakening she says: “A bay is a noun only if water is dead. When bay is a noun, it is defined by humans, trapped between shores and contained by the word. But the verb wiikwegamaa – to be a bay – releases the water from bondage and lets it live.





‘To be a bay’ holds the wonder that, for this moment, the living water has decided to shelter itself between these shores, conversing with cedar roots and a flock of baby mergansers.”





In my own garden I am learning how to speak the language of animacy. For now it is mostly a language spoken from my heart, often silently or softly, as I gaze at or walk through the gardens.





garden-to-be-swallowtail-caterpillar-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogI address the beingness of the entire garden and individual parts. I remember the Native wisdom of letting “the others”, meaning all of creation, be teachers and often addressing them as people as in tree people or river people.





I am writing and reciting meditations, poems and prayers that I speak to my gardens.   This week I wrote one that starts:

“I close my eyes and open my heart

I acknowledge the presence of each being,

Alive, conscious, speaking into and through my heart

I open to the presence of this garden’s being ….”


Learning animacy is a practice, a remembering from the innocence of childhood where all the world was animate and we mistakenly were taught otherwise.  Please join me in learning this language.


And if you happen to be in St. Louis, come visit my garden.  All these photos were taken within the last week.  Let me know you are coming.

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