Land and Family


Submitted by Kinde Nebeker, Bear Lake, Utah: 50 acres of agricultural land under threat of development.

On June 21, my sister, her two children and I hopped on a four-wheeler and a dirt bike and motored half a mile from the South Eden ranch homestead (where my sister’s family now lives) down to the shores of Bear Lake. Stretching east, away from the lake, were 50 acres of agricultural land—land that had been owned by my grandfather and inherited a couple of years ago by cousins. I could see the small sign on the county road at the other end of the fields, heralding the coming subdivision. Our family is currently working hard to convince these cousins to put this piece of land into a conservancy (and get money!), along with the adjacent land that we are conserving as open space.

I had showed the Global Earth Exchange website pages, with photos from past exchanges around the world, to my 8-year-old niece and 11-year-old nephew, so they could see that they were part of a global activity. They understood the idea of wounded places exactly, and starting thinking of other wounded places!

Down at the edge of the fields in the intense high-altitude sun, we called in the four directions, ancestors, and spirits of the land. Then we walked into the fields, each going their own way, to listen to the land.

Half an hour later, we came together again. My niece immediately spoke. She said she had walked into the tall grass and sat down and meditated. She said the land was a little scared, but felt OK because it knew we were trying to help it.

Then my nephew spoke. He said that he felt the land was not happy but not sad. If there were buildings built on it, it would still be the same land.

I told my story. I felt a great sadness as I walked out into the field, imagining the open space being gone. I could see the dryness of the land, that it grew one crop and had been working in this way for many, many years. I wondered if it were tired. The land seemed to just be doing what it did, growing or sitting under houses. At some point, I felt the land just being GRATEFUL that we were there, listening! I felt a bond with these fields, seeing the familiar family ranch from a new perspective (as I’d not stood out in these fields before).

My sister, being a woman of few words, simply said she didn’t know what the land had said, but felt a peace and calmness out in the fields.

It was a great time together; and will be a story we will tell for a long time—no matter what the ultimate fate of these fields will be!