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Trail Life: The Forester's Daughter





Welcome to our last 2023 Tree Talk of our Trail Life Series.

I launched this short series a few weeks ago to share more about the trees that I fell in love with during the many hikes that inspired and fueled my book, The Art of Rooting.

For our last issue of December 2023, I want to share a new poem ( about trees) that I wrote today as I was reflecting once again on my roots, due to my father's approaching Birthday ( Chrismas)



The Forester's Daughter

a poem I wrote approaching what would have been my father's 80th birthday.



You can take me so far away from the birthplace of my father

keep me away from the ground trodden by my ancestors

But let me find a forest, a creek, or a river

And there, I will find myself, une place, un refuge, and a shelter

Because my spirit was birthed in the land of an African forester


Entouré d'arbres, surrounded by trees, my lungs breathe the air like a transcendental traveler

Roots wrapped like vines around my heart, make nature my soul's keeper

A heart in love with nature's ethereal beauty will keep me loyal forever

Making sense of maps traced in the sky by hawks, owls, hiboux, crows, and corbeaux, spiritual messengers


Dans la foret, in the forest, I retrace the footsteps of my father

We are sharing some trails his soles have hiked never

Trails I am yet convinced his soul walks there as a happy visitor

He lives in me after all, so where I hike, he is also a hiker


I always remember to go slow, sometimes slower

Activate my sense of wonder

Observing footsteps on the sands from the forest dwellers

Tree branches hanging after storms like brave survivors...

Animals and plants of every size, we share so much in common

you might as well call us "nature belonger"


Forest lover

Forest bather

Water lover

Water drinker

Soul quenched Soul fed Forest feeder

Forest

Where and only where

My roots grow freer

Forest

Where and only where

My roots grow stronger

I am foresters' daughter

La fille des forestiers


Like lichen thriving with pure air and water

Where else should my spirit meet with my Father

Where else can we share imaginative conversations and laughter

Where else would we marvel at the Healing force of Earth our Mother

I am a forester's daughter

La Fille d'un forestier


Constantly reminded that nature is a remarkable 'recycler'

Constantly reminded that 'death' is unreal and Love is always the answer

Constantly reminded that LIFE is the energy of power

"This here is home," I say of a forest, not just for a bird like a woodpecker

"This here is home," I say of the river, not just for the blue heron I keep catching by the water

But for my spirit and soul because I am the forester's daughter

La fille du forestier!


N'nako Kande, copyrights 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Below I introduce you to My Fathers. The one this tribute is for.



I refer to my father's forest and birthplace in the lyrics of Twenty-One Strings.

The lyrics of the poem are also available in my collection Potions & Passions: Poetry & Artwork: Kande', on Amazon.






The page above is from my book The Art of Rooting.

This book is a very special experience.

I wrote The Art of Rooting in three months, which isn't uncommon for me, but what was uncommon was that I embarked on a very new adventure that was at times very uncomfortable.

Like trees exposed to the elements, some of my experiences felt very raw.

As roots stretched underground, part of the process felt very scary.

I shared my heart, my soul, and my spirit praying constantly that my story and my offering, would be valued and respected in a world where people can be so unkind.


With The Art of Rooting, I created a community from stretches from Chattanooga Tennessee to Zambia, Africa. A community that shares one thing in common, my West African roots and cultural heritage.


In my writing process, the most confusing thing was people asking me "You are already done?" "How can you write a book in just three months?"


At times these recurring questions would make me doubt my process.

"How long should I take to work over a two-hundred-page manuscript, filled with new poems, and visual art?"

I was even tempted to drag my project just because " I wanted to be more normal."

Thankfully I was reminded by a trusted friend that the best part about being me was that my process and my pace were mine and mine alone.

Looking back, I realize how stupid it is to consider voluntarily dragging a project just to "appear normal." ( Putting this in writing makes it sound more ridiculous. It's like trying to wear something that you know doesn't fit you just because that's what other's expect)

Even if I had wanted to alter my process, I couldn't because I had to surrender to a truth I even shared in this book: "The book was writing itself!"


Aside from the sleepless nights and my commitment to birth it through countless challenges " the book did write itself."

From the moment the idea of the book came to me at the end of a hike on April 30th, to the moment I first loaded the manuscript on August 27, 2023, I felt like a messenger, one that needed to be very obedient.



I would diligently write down every idea that came to mind, and people, things, and circumstances would "mysteriously" align for me to complete tasks and make progress with my book.

The challenges that at times felt like arduous mountains, I would "climb them" with a determination at did not always feel sane.

The process and experiences of writing this book did not just enhance my connection to nature, they gave me a new relationship with myself and transformed me as an artist and as a writer.

For the first time, I realized that I never chose to be either one. Art, poetry, and writing chose me and I finally got to say " I do!"

This book proved itself to be a spiritual assignment, one I still do not understand but one I had to honor.

I do not think that I will ever understand this assignment because it will be impossible to know its impact on others.

I published the book over three months ago and I continue to feel its impact as if I was not the one pecking at my keyboard praying for the right way to "translate" the message like a furious woodpecker hammering with precision.

Many of the lines whisper back to me in moments of pain and confusion, offering back to me some of the healing and love I audaciously poured into those pages.


You see I have always wished I could be a nurse, but I hate watching people in pain so I would need to be comforted as much as the one I want to comfort.

If my words and art can comfort, heal, and edify, I pray to nurse you ( and myself) to a stronger and more radiant version of ourselves. I pray you will let me love on you through my gifts and "assignment."


The Art of Rooting is undeniably my most authentic and my favorite book to date.

I revisit pages of my previous 6 books and marvel at the " audacity" of offering the world what I did with my now 7th and 8th books. (Find more of my books on Amazon)

While I was working on what was to be my 7th book, I had the brilliant idea, the effect of another hike, to fulfill my dream of creating a coloring and activity book, a complementary experience to The Art of Rooting. It took me 5 days from conception to completion and those intense five days were a welcome "recess" from working on the manuscript.


You can purchase The Art of Rooting books at the Chattanooga Audubon Society.


The most fascinating thing about writing The Art of Rooting is that I could probably write more books about the process, the content, and the things that happened during and after writing this book.

If I don't write another book ( Ha ha ha! Don't expect me to be done writing, I already have a few more books ready to be released soon) I will forever be honored to have been " asked" to write this one.


You may wonder what I mean when I say " I will forever be honored to have been asked to write The Art of Rooting, who could have "asked me" to write it?

I can give you a short answer and you may not believe it so what about you go on this journey with me....

Read the book for yourself and answer me when you finish reading it, leave me a review on Amazon!




Some well-read and well-traveled older people have told me recently that they have "never read a book like this."

Given their ages and their life experiences, I was even more humbled and honored to have " completed this assignment."

As a bibliophile, I have always thought that most books come to my life with a timely lesson. As a writer and as an artist, I treat my words and the artwork I share, with a lot of reverence.

Words are powerful and so are images and I am mindful of what I offer because I desire them to reach out in time, spaces, and ways that may bless others.

My love and connection to nature have given me a 'revelation' of why countless Biblical passages use nature to refresh, comfort, and edify us.

It's fascinating how much we "need trees and how much trees can teach us about life, community, death, love, and healing...and about who we are.



So let's find out about your Art of Rooting!

Whatever you think and feel, I desire to hear from you as well, so get your copy of the book, grab some of my NaKbook notebooks on Amazon, and share with me after you catch your breath and possibly dry some tears...

I will be by the water, sitting on those roots, waiting for you to talk to me!





A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.”- Marcus Garvey




A bientot!


If you have been keeping up with my shenanigans I want to say Merci!

Thank You

If you are quite new to my shenanigans, join me "Happy loves good company!" There I said it!

Catch up on previous posts

Read more from our Trail Life Serie

Catch up on The Art of Rooting Conversations and learn about some of the Amazing Zambian contributors from the Art of Rooting like Mwape, Sammie Hills, Timothy Kamuzu Phiri...






Visit my YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok to enjoy some clips and moments from my favorite 2023 memories.


Below is my last performance of the summer of 2023.

The previous night I had only slept 3 hours.

Right after that event, I came home late and kept working on the book. It was important for me to release this book by the anniversary of my dad's passing. I somehow pulled it off, after three intense months. Life didn't pause, I didn't get to escape to a beautiful cabin and spend three months doing nothing else but writing.

This poem and this performance were an amazing way to celebrate MY ART OF ROOTING.

At the start of this journey I was feeling so wounded and so hurt, writing this book was an Alchemy, and I am confident that you will experience some kind of healing too through those pages...



Grab some of my journals and books as books for yourself and for others and like I said in my call to action in The Art of Rooting

Take better care of yourself, of others, and of Mother (Earth)



Forest Bathing

A short poem inspired by my trail runs and hikes.

Subscribe to the YouTube Channel for more.







I Speak Life over you

This blessing is at the end of every journal from my NakBook collection on Amazon and is also available on Amazon as an MP3 and on my EP on Apple Music and Spotify.




Blessings

Avalanches of blessings

Blessings

Only graces and blessings

Nothing else but blessings




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