High on the Hog, Braiding Sweetgrass, The Moor’s Account

Stephen Satterfield

High On The Hog is one of many distinct gifts to our growth and enlightenment during this peculiar time of angst and confusion.  I watched it with a niece whose father, my brother Bill, left the Jim Crow South for a better life in Boston years before she was born.  Watching it, she said, was like having him back: his reminisces of growing up Southern, his love of story, and definite love of food.  How it would have amazed him to see the genius of the people of Benin who escaped being enslaved by literally building their communities on water.  And how the young narrator and guide Stephen Satterfield, so calm and beautiful, brings us closer to our ancient serenity with his gentle embrace of African American culture with unadorned appreciation and gratitude. Everyone in and around this offering shines with beauty and grace.  Thank you all, from a full and grateful Southern heart.~aw

Braiding Sweetgrass  by Robin Wall Kimmerer is another gift that is so precious it seems practically unbelievable.  I read it as a holy book, a Bible, from Nature, delivered somehow to us at this time of deep need to understand the glory that Earth is and always has been.  I have felt, even as a child, that the earth was heaven, magical and knowing perfectly well what it was doing.  Trees had to be intelligent, I thought.  Just look at how they grow only where it suits them.  And so on.  Thank you RWK for this work of devotion to Whatever is responsible for creating us.~aw

Then there is the utterly amazing book The Moor’s Account, by Laila Lalami, the memoir of an enslaved Moor (black and in my imagination identical to Stephen Satterfield who I hope will play this character in a movie someday) who came with the Spanish Conquistadors to invade and conquer what they called “the new world.”  This book is foundational to our understanding of the Americas, of slavery, of European dominator indifference to the lives of Indigenous people already living in the Americas, or anywhere.  It is fantastic to listen to, and I recommend this.  Thank you, Laila Lalami, you are a perfect illustration of why men in control of our lives did not want women to read and write.  This one book can open the world from centuries ago to us, now. Magic. Yes. It exists.~aw