Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!
For this session we read “The Three Sisters,” an excerpt from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Hall Kimmerer, posted below.
Our prompt was: “Write about telling a story by what you do.”
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“The Three Sisters,” an excerpt from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Hall Kimmerer
It should be them that tell this story. Corn leaves rustle with a signature sound, a papery conversation with each other and the breeze. On a hot day in July – when the corn can grow six inches in a single day – there is a squeak of internodes expanding, stretching the stem towards the light. Leaves escape their sheaths with a drawn-out creak and sometimes, when all is still, you can hear the sudden pop of ruptured pith when water-filled cells become too large and turgid for the confines of the stem. These are sounds of being, but they are not the voice.
The beans must make a caressing sound, a tiny hiss as a soft-haired leader twines around the scabrous stem of corn. Surfaces vibrate delicately against each other, tendrils pulse as they cinch around a stem, something only a nearby flea beetle could hear. But this is not the song of beans.
I’ve lain among the ripening pumpkins and heard creaking as the parasol leaves rock back and forth, tethered by the tendrils, wind lifting their edges and easing them down again. A microphone in the hollow of a swelling pumpkin would reveal the pop of seeds expanding and the rush of water filling succulent orange flesh. These are sounds, but not the story. Plants tell their stories not by what they say, but by what they do.
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