Monday, August 17th
It was very useful to have Permaculture defined today. I have always had some difficulty is describing what it was to people and today I had my perception confirmed. As Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition Town movement says, “it’s the glue that will hold the post carbon world together”. As Peter Bane and Keith Morris said, it’s “a vision of an ecological culture”.
Permaculture is the practice of creating sustainable communities… the cultural, spiritual and physical connection to our environment and the creation of communities that are designed on the principles of the natural world in a way that does not harm in any way the world in which we live, but instead enhances and encourages healthy life in harmony with earth.
As the day went on, I felt a sense of clarity about what and why and who we are in the process of existence. How we could have gone on as oblivious beings as we have been, digging deeper and deeper into the muck of resource depletion and Gaia abuse is hard to understand. I hear the voices of Saint Francis, Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson. We listened, but not really. Now we have no choice. We have to find a way to extract ourselves and revisit completely how we exist on the planet if we are to survive.
The big picture is a lot to take in and how to implement Permaculture principles in my small village of Saranac Lake and the surrounding Adirondacks will be an interesting examination.
Tuesday, August 18th
The morning brought a candid discussion of energy decent and future scenarios. Permaculture and implementation of an energy decent culture is the only reasonable path for humanity.
Peter shared his expertise at the willow tree by the lake after lunch. It was beautiful. The breeze was strong and the landscape told us about that breeze off the lake. I could have wandered and wondered all afternoon with the experience and understanding that Peter and Keith brought to our heightened observations.
In the afternoon, continents collided and drifted and plants and seeds clung on. What a wonderful image of our young earth oozing with life and the strength of those living things to thrive. I loved those stories Keith told this afternoon.
Wednesday, August 19th
Coppice with standards. This idea enthralled me. Peter Bane’s description: “Coppice-with-standards is a two-story woodland management system where among cut trees or "coppice" some trees are left to grow as larger size timber, called "standards". This traditional system supports sustainable production of timber and non-timber forest products, while enhancing ecosystem diversity and wildlife habitat.” It’s a real working relationship between the landowner/manager and the land. Wood for fuel, wood for furniture, wood for baskets and fences. I think the Brits have been tree-loving druids for so long they have figured a lot out! Peter mentioned that in some Bruegel painting, coppice trees are visible. I will have to look that one up!
I am feeling a little like a horse at a starting gate. I want to apply what I have learned! I feel a little like Dorothy when she steps out of her house in OZ. It’s all in color now.
Thursday August 20th
Waste, Micro Climates, Buildings…it is all weaving together. I am feeling so much more when I get home at night, than just, “wow…I learned a lot today”. I am feeling a deep sense of gratitude. I am grateful that this knowledge is coming to me, I am grateful that I have finally found the time to embrace and digest it all and am profoundly grateful for the gifts that the earth gives us. I feel like I have been welcomed back as a creature of the earth. Come, relearn, redo, reclaim, make it better, these are the gifts that have been given. There is much to be done. Here are the tools. Make it happen. Thanks to Peter and Keith for giving us the tools.
Friday, August 21st
I am enjoying interviewing the students and getting to know them all. We are a community now and because of the profound nature of the material and the deep truth that we are all awakening too, we have a special bond. It’s as if we are all in a little boat together traveling down the river to amazing revelations.
It makes me hopeful to see the next generation engaged in this important work.