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Article: Black Ink, Green Soul: Journaling Back to Nature Connection

Black and Green

Black Ink, Green Soul: Journaling Back to Nature Connection

Have you ever seen those peaceful insta reels of homesteads and pretty women frolicking through wheat fields and felt like that wasn't meant for you?

Journaling while Black and trying to feel your way back to the green isn’t a prompt that’s often explored.

Honestly, people don’t really think Black when they think green. We rarely see ourselves reflected in the green movement, thanks, in part, to environmental racism.

But guess what? Our ancestors were farmers, healers, and protectors of the land. This article explores how journaling can help you reconnect with nature and reclaim your own Black joy and sense of belonging in nature.

 

We belong to nature too.

Scrolling through Instagram, I saw a woman picking an avocado from a tree her grandparents planted sixty years ago. Maybe it was f.o.m.o kicking in, but there was something in the softness of the way she cradled the full green fruit, embracing the connection she felt to her ancestors, that made me, not envious, but sad.

I couldn’t share in her moment of joy without thinking about race, lost generational wealth, and economic disparity. My own family doesn't have land to pass down, just memories of temporary housing.

It’s usually micro-moments like these that I’ll journal about with the cadence of Stolen Fruit by Tank and the Bangas floating in the background.

For many Black folks, our connection to land feels temporary, impermanent, like we’re tumbleweeds rolling rental to rental, lease to lease. This may contribute to that lingering feeling of disconnection from nature. 

 

We already know Black and green joy.

We’ve had so many of these experiences. It’s just the dominant narrative we repeatedly consume that may cause us to forget. Sometimes, we draw a blank, but Black joy in nature exists even if it looks different from the stereotypical images we see online. 

Maybe it's the triumphant harvest of a single tomato plant on a fire escape, reciting our favorite neo-soul song lyrics while taking a walk through the city park, or the shared laughter with friends around a community garden bonfire.

By journaling about these experiences, big or small, we consciously rewrite the narrative. We can find solace in the shared stories of Black resilience and cultivate our own connection to the land, one seed planted, one story written, at a time.

 

We can nurture our own seed of connection.

Imagine yourself, arms outstretched, letting the wind flow through you. Or your first childhood memory of catching fireflies. Describe that perfect tomato you grew on your windowsill…you’re allowed to be in your feels about moments like those too.

Journaling is a powerful tool for voicing complex emotions and grief is a big one. It’s that sensitive plant that’s been slumped over, dying of thirst. The slow, conscious process of writing it down, meditating on reasons why it's drooping again, lifts the leaves.

Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • Describe a moment when you felt a connection to nature, big or small.
  • What emotions come up when you think about blackness and belonging to the land?
  • Are there any stories from your family history that connect you to nature?

 

Unearth Your Rich Ancestral Bond with Nature.

Black history is full of stories of resilience and connection to the land. Our history with nature isn’t all cotton-picking, suffering, and displacement.

Maybe you could explore local anecdotes and ask your elders about how they jarred preserves, farmed and cultivated tobacco, grew beans, or hunted wild game.

Research Black agricultural pioneers like George Washington Carver and Fannie Lou Hamer, discover the healing work of Land Back movements, and cherish the achievement of preserved  indigenous African horticultural knowledge.

 

Heal Scarcity Mindset.

Generational trauma can shape our relationship with the world, including nature. Journaling can help us identify and heal from a scarcity mindset – the feeling that there's not enough to go around and, ultimately, that we’re not enough.

Take a minute to reflect and respond to this quote from the book It Didn’t Start with You by Mark Wolynn on how inherited family trauma shapes who we are: “Ignoring the pain actually deepens it. What is hidden from sight often increases in intensity.”

The only way through is in. By understanding our history, we can break free from these limitations and embrace a more abundant view of nature's gifts.

 

Reclaim Your Green Identity.

You don't need a sprawling garden to connect with nature. Even a potted plant next to the window or volunteering at a local community garden can be a starting point.

Journaling can help you:

  • Identify ways you already connect with nature in your daily life.
  • Set goals for deepening your connection to the green world.
  • Find joy and peace in the natural world, regardless of your living situation.

We all deserve to feel the sun on our skin. We deserve to feel kinship with the dirt between our fingertips. So, let's rewrite the narrative of Black people and nature, one journal entry at a time.