This piece was featured in the Anchorage Museum’s Future Ready Exhibition, viewable online here.

This table is built of spruce that grew for over a century before I was born, on land where I have lived my whole life. It was killed in the spruce beetle epidemic this past year and burned by fire. After a fire, wild raspberry shoots proliferate and turkey tail mushrooms grow on downed and rotting trees. We make a tincture or a tea of each of them, and they strengthen our immunity to disease.

I am inspired by the agency of the more-than-human world. Their forces are acting on us, as we are acting on them and we are intimately tied.

How do we ritualize the transitions that we are in the midst of? How do our ceremonies account for the enormity of climate change? What is survival, if we are decomposing? We make our blueprints, but the structures we build will decay in time.

One way of survival and ceremony is to fertilize soil with ashes of burned trees. In the spring, I cut purple seed potatoes to plant, save the seeds of flowers and herbs, and honor the earth in small ways each day.