Why do we call her Abuela?
Greetings many people have asked over the years Why do we refer to the land as Abuela Gardens? Until the last years this had always felt like common curiosity... the most common answers included that we were building a space to be an example, a grandmother to the many sites that look to what we do as an example.... other meanings were in reference to the land and her medicine. where did it come from, i have been asked.... it was given where the voice of the elders had shared in a quiet but empowered way...
in 2020 as new voices have been emerging for educating the masses on cultural appropration, diversity and colonization lots of questions came up for all of us and were brought to a new level when we (i) recieved the following email
"Wondering why, as a white man, you chose to use the title "Abuela" to market your space. Seems like you do good work, but taking the name of my brown female ancestors is a colonizing act, a clear sign of spiritual bypass which means I would never feel safe on your land. Perhaps you have Abuelas in your lineage, but nowhere on your page do I see you hold this as a point of pride or importance. Please consider a name change to signify to black, brown and indigenous communities that you are not simply perpetuating the violence and mindless colonization of your ancestors."
With humility, privilege and gratitude I have sat with many elders whom refer to the land as Pacha Mamma , Madre Tierra , or Abuela… they have shared with me many teachings that I am humbled to carry and share…. Below Is an offering as this conversation , I believe, is a dialogue that is too complex to say there is one way.
You are encouraged to share your thoughts, please email us at Info@abuelagardens.com
Open armed heart of the land,
never having turned away a spirit in search
Having bearthed and nurtured so many infant visions
Having held the space for so many walks of life to point to as torch in the dark night
Abuela…. The way so many of us earth stewards refer to you… will now be quieted in voice but never in heart…until we all remember.
No matter your name your spirit is the same.
Your springs and soils, your forests and gardens, your reminders of our true nature….
We can never not know you as the ancient grandma.
The overseer of our undeserved fault and so deserved offerings.
teacher of reciprocation,
Mentor of equanimity,
voice of humility,
Guru of reason.
Matriarch of seasons.
All though your name goes dormant here in these gates,
Your way can only grow. One day, we will all remember…
May your touch and embrace softly ease the traumas that move people to act as if we are separate.
May your windy kisses remind those of us whom have been severed that our blood is your blood and is all the same color,
That its saltiness is your gift to your whole family.
In devotion we will leave your name at the edge of the river of trust.
In devotion, we know that the anger of our family will be healed by the fluidity of time.
With peace in heart we will meet those teary eyes with courageous compassion.
With the surrender of humility we can let go of what you have given us so that others may feel that they have something of their own.
But in that may we all look deeper…
In serenity may we see the truth of our languages…
The conquest of words…
From when they were given to us or forced upon us or stolen….
They once were the sounds of the birds feathers ruffling
The laughing and lapping of the river,
The giggling of corn leaves in the wind,
The crack of the tree falling on a full moon
The soothing of a gentle rain
The sound of a kiss
The tearing of tooth into sustenance…
Our languages, the translation of our connection to source,
Have become the paradox of unity and separation…
The bird who mimics anything it loves
Gives an inheritance to the circle of generations
The song is not guarded but sung freely in hope for chorus and response.
Exploding like fertile seeds upon open earth
Sometimes quick to rise to seed again other times finding rest (dormant, dormir, french for to sleep)
Safe beneath the clay until the conditions are right for it to burst forth again.
There are plants in the garden that can produce nutrients in their being from uptake in their roots
that are not present in the soil that bearthed them. They make these nutrients available to others who would not have ever been able have access..
Their diversity brings health to the ecosystem
Perhaps we will remember
Our connection as we look into the roots of the words we speak..
Abuela… Spanish (from Spanish conquestadors)
The Arabic of Moorish decent…Abu….which means “the father of”
The Hebrew Abba which means father
The Latin abuela of Castanillian Spanish…. Avia/avioulus
Many of us have been removed many generations over from the tongue taught by the lands that bearthed us. The sounds that were unique to the wild we came from…
Further many of us are orphaned from the way of the lineages that came form those places.
The sacred exchanges of place and time burnt in wars and conquer have left us, even those of us with some connection to where exactly we came from, splintered off from the weave that connects us all to the land.
The only common threads are a current of love, or greed…
And an umbilical cord to corporate food and health systems.
Truly reclaiming our sovereignty and independence is found in the humility of our interconnectedness. The seed that was saved by the unknown hand, the healer who shared her relationship with this plant or that to save the bleeding “enemy” (who was our great great ancestor), the indigenous elder who shares language with whoever is listening to learn before it is lost because the children have lost interest, all embody their true nature. The fire that lights a thousand fires, the seed that makes a thousand seed…. The bird song that travels the globe… all are calling on us to remember our love, spirit, and soul are FOR GIVING.
But indeed, just like the plants that are able to bring up nutrients that were unavailable or even produce them where they were not present to begin with, the root of our spirits may be able to search out and create new and old threads that weave us together in the deep story of a harmonious humanity.
So in an effort to remember our lineages we go to the stones and the rivers where our ancestors once came from so long ago. No matter what territories our bodies reside our devotion to the source is the first step of reparations for the wrongs of humanity against humanity in what ever name or reason.
Again.... you are encouraged to share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org