Borrowed, 2023

Some years ago, I started the festival of Borrowed. It’s on February 28th or 29th, and is a reminder that the Earth is precious and ecosystems are fragile. It seems even more relevant in the face of the climate emergency.

The festival of Borrowed highlights the idea that we do not own the Earth or the trees, animals, birds, and waters — we only “borrow” them, and share them with all other life. They are entities in their own right, flows in nature.

For the festival of Borrowed, you’re invited to organize a group to plant some trees, plant flowers for the bees, clean up some litter, or tend your garden.

If the ground outside is still covered in snow, then plan and organize some tree planting for when the weather improves.

If you live on colonized land, learn whose territory you are on and how you can give back to that community.

Here’s a poem I wrote today, reflecting an animist worldview:

NAMES OF RIVERS, by Yvonne Aburrow

What does a river call itself?
Watery words?
Gurgle, flow,
Bubble, slow,
Fluid, wave.
Or does it take its name from the land?
Carving rocks,
Making silt,
Willow banks,
Shining mud.
Or does it name itself after animals and birds?
Otter bath,
Vole road,
Heron hunting,
Salmon leap.
Or the plants that grow there?
Weed waving,
Willow trailing,
Alders rooting,
Berries floating.

The text reads “The festival of Borrowed” over a picture of the Earth and trees, with mountains and sky in the background.

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