What a wonder-filled adventure it was to be immersed in the rainforest of the Pacific Northwest of Washington State in the county of Sno-ho-mish, “ Sleeping Waters “.
This environment host conditions perfect for some very amazing healing flora a delight to walk in between historic trees such as: dogwood, alders, cedars, hemlocks, willows, spruce, hawthorns, hazelnuts, and other grandfather medicine trees, some of these being important plants in the origins of medicine.
As I entered the rainforest, tapestries of green carpeting, composed of vibrant green moss; Lillie’s and ferns welcomed me.
Enchanted by the transitional areas where the edges meet, I drifted through the emerald evergreen, what a spectacle it was to witness the eco-tones and gradual changes of a natural habitat.
In permaculture we know this as the Edge, and every effort of our design is to increase it. Just like nature does. It is where most life happens. It is a transitional area between two habitats, it is in this interface where the diversity of both biomes are present, and therefore it is a very exiting, rich and fertile place. It is where one environment merges into the other, from one into one.
The reason why I was in this wonderland was to support a dear friend Danny-Belle with developing a permaculture design project.
The first day when I arrived , I spent lots of time outside observing nature patterns, just listening and observing to what she wanted done on the land. I also picked up some sacred geometry art for inspiration.
Getting inspired with natures language & patterns
The Pacific North West is native to a habitat of the land to the berries ranging from salmon berries, salal berries, thimble berries, bramble berries, huckle berries, service berries and other native berries that are all growing wild as part of the under story's of the bigger and taller canopy trees.
This is a land with the capacity to grow blue berries, raspberries, black berries, currants, gooseberries, lingo berries and cranberries, nature’s skittles of antioxidant galore! Quite a very-berry fantasy! I must say I felt like snow white strolling through this fairy tale fantasyland, but it was oooohhh so real!
In the meadows awaited covers of dandelions wishing to be harvested for their fresh leaves and roots for roasting (the roots make a great substitute for coffee and the leaves are super nutritious for salads, soups, smoothies or as a sautéed green veggie. My herbalist teacher used to say plants are waiting to be used for their gifts and benefits, for that is their purpose to heal, they are honored when we ingest them.
When arriving to new permaculture design sites, I like doing investigative work to find out native flora and the ethno botanical uses by the indigenous tribes of the land and the findings never seize to amaze me.
It was not long before I realized that I was in the middle of nature’s pharmacy.
I believe permaculture is a path to recovering ancestral knowledge and to apply it, in order to replenish our medicinal & edible foodscaping habitats.
The community I visited is called Our Sacred Acres. They are a wonderful group, aiming to live a permaculture lifestyle. In this particular trip, my focus was to design a garden for Zone 1 the most intensively and frequently used part of the property. In a weekend workshop people would learn about design through hands on practice.
Our Sacred Acres Weekend Permaculture Workshop
Participants included visitors and residents of the community.
We reviewed permaculture principles, and I encouraged participants to collaborate on the basic template of the design for their ideas and creativity to be included as part of the teamwork.
I like to think of my role as a design and people weaver, where my job is to be of service to naturally follow an instinct of natural design that comes from observing and mimicking nature, and inviting people to see and to create patterns.
I emphasized on the inclusive model of permaculture and utilized the power of the collective genius when harvesting each person’s skill, weaving each one into the quilt that benefits the whole.
Harvesting ideas & putting them to good use
I believe a permanent-culture is about empowerment and helping people believe in their innate abilities to create, rather than a structure of hierarchy where the director, designer or teacher only has all the answers.
I also believe that as we enter the effects of climate change and as more people are required to implement permacultue systems in their homes, and in their neighborhoods, everyone in the block, intentional community or eco-village will have something to share! It’s just a matter of organization; I get to be the organizer.
The group was divided into sub groups to complete tasks, in the first moments of action there always seems to be a bit of chaos while Ideas are getting into place, resources being gathered, found, etc, so I always remind myself to surrender my ego and to allow the flow of intelligence that naturally occurs as people take on their roles, once they do, it is like a symphony.
Rock gatherers, silt bearers, log finders, hugelkulture garden bed makers, swale diggers and herb spiral artists, a synchronic order, begins to emerge out of what first seems chaotic. I have learned to trust this wave of creation and I really do enjoy it!
Hugelkulture crescent-moon-wave shaped beds, dug and getting stuffed with logs
In the flow
Triple Spiral Garden
It's all coming together
In the middle of digging with shovels, lines of rock passing and soil mixing we found ourselves bare feet singing songs of love and expressing love for songs.
We chanted thank you grandmother earth, for the trees that you grow, thank you grandfather sky for the sun-rays above, sing it high, sing it high, sing it low, sing it low. Hymms of sacred ancestral chants that reminded us of our origins and our path back into a nature blessed life.
We did yoga in the dirt and had a blast posing for pictures and videos for Charles who was filming our video.
We also made space for place making to allow each member of the community to feel welcomed, useful and equally valued. That is the great spirit of permaculture.
Team Work ! Initial Phase Complete !
A few weeks later....
a picture I receive from the garden & good news !
News from Danielle Gennety from Our Sacred Acres:
" My home in the magical forest, is now... our family business. We have been approved as a fiscally sponsored non-profit project of Empowerment Works, I've executed the agreement today as Chieftess/Executive Organizer (CEO), and we are officially established as a Charitable Education Facility and Community Impact Center."
" I can now complete the website and crowdfunding campaign for our permaculture projects that we've been crafting, ASK FOR and ACCEPT SUPPORT for the good work we've been doing all along, and get SILLIOUS about empowering our intergenerational connections through researching and teaching healthy stewardship of self, community,and planet."
The Dream Team - will you be on it?
" We're building relationships, with each other, with our family of tribes, and with the land-bases within our networks...if you are interested in joining the Dream Team with Our Sacred Acres and DreamDance please provide your email address (preferably gmail, for google hangouts and doc sharing) by messaging Our Sacred Acres here on the FB page or emailing email@example.com "
CONGRATS ! To Our Sacred Acres, I am so glad I was able to be part of kickstarting the permaculture program. What an honor !
In my return back home from this trip I wrote these reflections on the airplane:
As I rise into the skies
Here I go again, thrusting into the clouds, as if an ordinary spectacle.
An ocean of clouds, white gaseous floating waters.
Gliding in this metaled, engined bird, across the nation.
Fueled by the bodies of ancient carbonaceous fossil matter.
Exhausting masses of carbon gases, heating the earth as I go.
Paradoxes meet: My efforts are to cultivate carbon sequestering landscapes, but to get there I must fly, I must burn fuel and exhaust gases.
I want to be done and gone out of a resource exploiting society; I want to be part of the cycle of nature.
Maybe one day we will learn how the birds do it, how the plants do it, how the algea does it, those who don't produce more waste than what the earth can handle and always return the energy they took through their metabolic and natural cycles.
When we unlock the sacred geometric patterns of energy we will be free to soar with out feeling guilty of our environmental impact
Then we will learn the keys of nature and apply those teachings, then and only then we can call ourselves advanced.
Do you have an idea for creating energy out of patterns ? How would it work ? I want to hear from the collective genius, you !
If so leave a comment with the idea you have in mind.