Thinking with the Willows: Cultivating Caring Dispositions

Shared by Tanya Farzaneh


How might we begin to re-story this story of living with and entangled in neoliberal logics of consumerism and disposable relations?  How can we begin to heal and restore? “How do we live our responsibility for healing?”

(Kimmerer, 2013. p. 322)

In the weeks that follows, in the small crevasses and deep cuts of the remains, glimmers of hope and life arise. Volunteer tree sprouts emerge; life emerging from dead.  Willow trees. New stories to be made and told.

“The land remember what we said and what we did…. We need to unearth the old stories that live in a place and begin to create new ones, for we are storymakers, not just storytellers.”

(Kimmerer, 2013. p. 341)

We gather among the collection of remains and are in awe of the new life. We notice the resilience and vulnerability that is born here. Entangled with the waste and ruins, we enact our pedagogical commitments in cultivating dispositions of care for both the living and dead; tending to the new life, leaves of new branches, new stories. There is gentleness in these relations.  Hope is found here in the destruction, hope found in the shared responsibility for healing.

“It is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again.”

(Kimmerer, 2013. p. 327)

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