I’ve just had a thoroughly wonderful weekend back at Ragmans Farm on a course with Patrick Whitefield called ‘Reading The Landscape’. I learnt so much about what plants and landscape features can tell the informed observer – from historical land-use to soil ecology and so much more. It was truly inspiring to absorb Patrick’s considerable knowledge on this subject and equally stimulating to meet and talk with the other course participants. Once again being at Ragmans felt like the place I was meant to be and seeing people who I met on my Permaculture Design Course with Patrick last year was like being reunited with family. Having now attended two courses at Ragmans and having lived there for nearly 6 months I feel I’ve gained a deep connection with the land and I look forward to developing that further in the future.
One of many fantastic experiences from this weekend was being asked to give a short talk about mushroom cultivation and having a number of people from the group telling me they are keen to give it a go. I look forward to helping them with that and learning from their experiences. Through my enthusiasm for talking to everyone about fungi (which I was encouraged to do I might add!) I earned myself the name “Chrishroom” which I was very pleased with.
Many thanks go to Patrick for sharing his knowledge, experience and passion, to Morwenna for keeping us all nourished with good food and to all the course participants who shared this experience with me. Lastly, thanks to all at Ragmans Farm for giving us the opportunity to learn in such a beautiful and interesting landscape. Blessings on you all.
A few days ago I sat down to write a bit of poetry after getting a very positive response to my post ‘Observe and learn from the land’. I decided that I would use the Lune form which follows a pattern of 3 words/5 words/3 words or breaks down a total of thirteen syllables into a structure of 5/3/5 – which may make a lot more sense if you read what I produced.
I found having a short and set form to be a good way of focusing my energy and not getting lost in the world of a blank page. I wrote down quite a few but here are two I’d like to share and that represent the two different ways of writing a Lune I attempted to explain above:
Give your gifts,
Waste not your beautiful dreams.
You are rich.
The forest whispers;
“We shall heal our wounds”
The War on Drugs, or more accurately The War on People Who Use Certain Drugs, has and continues to destroy so many people’s lives – but it seems the situation is finally shifting. Cannabis legalisation is now a fledgling reality in two US states and in Uruguay and today many thousands of people will gather to light up together in public parks across the world in an act of super chilled-out civil disobedience.
The effort to control and conquer the use of drugs in society has resulted in criminalising millions of people and is perpetuating an ever increasing cycle of violence and suffering and I think its time to seriously talk about this and collectively find a new approach.
Here is an enlightened article called ‘Gateway drug, to what?’ written by Charles Eisenstein on this subject that I feel is an important contribution to a constructive conversation on drugs in society.
There is a Spanish translation of the article.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how doing more creative and artistic things could be a benefit to me. Writing some poetry is currently on the forefront of my mind especially after receiving a daily dose from Tigers Dancing. Then I remembered a poem I wrote whilst doing an exercise named ‘Listening to the Landscape’ during my Permaculture Design course last year. At the end of the session we were invited to do something creative inspired by an hour spent observing a particular piece of land.
Its not a masterpiece but it flowed out of me quite spontaneously after that session and invokes in me many of the feelings of connection I experienced on the course and I’d like to share it:
At first this land might not seem much
but look a little closer.
Clear your mind
like a long exhale
and breathe in slowly, deeply.
Absorb all this land has to show you.
From birds and bees
to plants and trees.
Take the time to really listen.
For this land has much to teach us.
The Amazon Mycorenewal Project
This is a really interesting project, worth supporting if you can, that is using permaculture and mycelium to clean up crude oil that has been dumped in the Ecuadorian Rainforest. Its the first major bioremediation project of its kind and could become a seed for other such projects around the world.
I feel bioremediation work can teach us the value of working alongside other members of our ecosystems to heal damage and create better living conditions for all. It is a beautifying process that works through cooperation and not competition.
This is some info copied from the Amazon Mycorenewal project:
Since 2006, AMP has worked in the Sucumbíos region of Northern Ecuador to develop low-cost, effective, and natural systems for addressing severe pollution and health issues related to industrial petroleum extraction. AMP’s work revolves around the emerging science of applied bioremediation. Bioremediation is a pollution mitigation strategy that mimics the decomposition and nutrient cycling processes found in the natural world by utilizing fungi, bacteria, and plants to break down toxic chemicals in polluted aquatic and terrestrial environments.
Tomorrow morning I will be getting on a train to visit a farm in Devon where I may do the next leg of my WWOOFing adventures. Feels like the right place to be for a couple of days and we’ll see what happens from there. I lived in Devon for 2 years when I first left my childhood home and went to university in Exeter. I grew a lot as a person there having many life changing and formative experiences. Long before consciously exploring my own spiritual ideas I would refer to Devon as my ‘Spiritual Home’. I look forward to reconnecting.
I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting one of the hosts at a weekend training event for a group of people, myself included, who will be helping to promote WWOOFing at various events over the year. As it turns out I had actually saved their host page last year so perhaps this has been a while in the making?
I believe we all have a beautiful gift (or gifts) to give to the world and that our lives need to be spent developing and sharing those gifts. The smile on this guy’s face and the beautiful music he plays gives me a gentle reminder to keep developing my own gifts.
His website is: www.hanginbalance.com