Over the holidays I inadvertently fell into the sharing-gifting economy. . .
My friend asked me to make 7 Christmas stockings for her roommates (she lives in a house with 6 others) and I had some of my grandmother’s teacups hiding in the cupboard that she offered to fill with soy wax to make delightful candles. Unique and simple, we were both happy, in gratitude for each other.
Being in the flow of gratitude,
the patterning of the Mother/Father One,
is our joy and how things work in the higher realms.
To illustrate this way of being in much more detail, below is an essay by an enlightened Professor of Environmental Biology, Robin Wall Kimmerer — truly this is how the Universal Law of Give and Receive works — and a post about Andrew Carnegie, industrialist and philanthropist, how he gave away 90 percent of his wealth to causes he cared passionately about, especially peace and libraries.
As Robin Wall Kimmerer harvests serviceberries alongside the birds, she considers the ethic of reciprocity that lies at the heart of the gift economy. How, she asks, can we learn from Indigenous wisdom and ecological systems to reimagine currencies of exchange?
The cool breath of evening slips off the wooded hills, displacing the heat of the day, and with it come the birds, as eager for the cool as I am. They arrive in a flock of calls that sound like laughter, and I have to laugh back with the same delight. They are all around me, Cedar Waxwings and Catbirds and a flash of Bluebird iridescence.
I have never felt such a kinship to my namesake, Robin, as in this moment when we are both stuffing our mouths with berries and chortling with happiness. The bushes are laden with fat clusters of red, blue, and wine purple, in every stage of ripeness, so many you can pick them by the handful. I’m glad I have a pail and wonder if the birds will be able to fly with their bellies as full as mine.
This abundance of berries feels like a pure gift from the land. I have not earned, paid for, nor labored for them. There is no mathematics of worthiness that reckons I deserve them in any way. And yet here they are—along with the sun and the air and the birds and the rain, gathering in the towers of cumulonimbi. You could call them natural resources or ecosystem services, but the Robins and I know them as gifts. We both sing gratitude with our mouths full.
What Hundreds of American
(and Canadian) Public Libraries
Owe to Carnegie’s Disdain
for Inherited Wealth
Carnegie built 2,509 libraries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, 1,679 of them across the U.S. in nearly every state. All told, he spent US$55 million of his wealth on libraries. Adjusted for inflation, that would top $1.3 billion today.
Some were grand but about 70 percent of these libraries served towns of less than 10,000 and cost less than $25,000 (at that time) to build.