From: Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Little, Brown Spark, 2023, p. 26
“Kithship” is intimacy with the landscape in which one dwells and is entangled. In modern English—even in England, where the expression originated—“kith and kin” are mistakenly conflated into one meaning our relatives, those who are close to us. But the reason the archaic phrase was formed around two different words is that they are, in fact, different. Jay Griffiths points this out in her book, Kith (retitled A Country Called Childhood for an American audience not trusted to know the word kith at all). Where kin are relations of kind, kith is relationship based on knowledge of place—the close landscape, “one’s square mile”, as Griffiths writes, where each tree and neighbor and robin and fox and stone is known, not by map or guide but by heart. Kith is intimacy with a place, its landmarks, its fragrance, the habits of its wildlings. Kithship enlivens kinship.