Mini-Review: Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit
Updated: May 12
Reading Rooted was an experience that I sank into at the end of long days, a nourishing connection to the natural world and the realm of the soul. Lyanda Lynn Haupt weaves a personal tale of her spiritual explorations (describing herself as a someone who believes in the power of sacrament as “a human open to the truth that something can be made sacred by the attention we grant it”), and an expansive quest to understand the rest of the natural world and humans’ interconnection with it.
I first read Haupt’s writing in the Kinship series published by The Center for Humans and Nature, an essay called “Starlings, Infinity, and the Kith of Kinship,” and knew I’d never look at a starling the same. Soon after I read her essay, starlings landed in my backyard and I was transfixed, in awe, taking in the marvel of shining, spangled feathers with a new knowing of the profound intelligence of these birds.
Rooted illuminated for me in a similar way the many topics it touches, from solitude to walking in the dark, connections with trees, nature and the sacred, animal intelligence, and much more, through Haupt’s kind and engaging perspective, bringing together extensive scientific knowledge with personal stories that ground the information in experience.
I was drawn in by her love letter to wandering as a form of interconnection with the natural world through allowing our attention to wander towards, witness, and acknowledge the living world around us, of which we humans are a part, invoking what Thich Nhat Hanh describes as “interbeing.” Haupt says that “through the lens of ecological interconnection, the unfurling intelligence of our own everyday wanderings benefits all beings.” A wanderer by nature, I related deeply to these ideas and found this gave me new ways of seeing the nature walk and talk therapy work I do (it involves a great deal of wandering).
Another beautiful section was on barefoot walking and the connection to Earth it represents. Haupt quotes John O’Donohue: “Your feet bring your private clay in touch with the ancient, mother clay from which you first emerged.” She goes on, “Barefootedness can be an honoring of one’s own closeness to the cycles of nature, the inevitable interweaving of soil and self. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” I admit this left me longing for easy access to a path without goatheads.
I felt gifts were being imparted as I read this book, gifts of rootedness, sweet connection grounded in simplicity, and deepening knowledge. For these gifts I’m so grateful and I hope you enjoy them, too.