16 May 2008

I'm back in Italy after spending a few days in Marseille with a dear friend. It is cloudy and cool and rainy here. The cherries are ripe, and there are baby birds in a nest chirping in the grapevine outside the room where I am now staying. I haven't felt like I had a room that was “my” room in so long, I just realized as I was unpacking my altar items and a few little things how nice it feels to spread out in that way. I have pared down the amount of stuff from a house packed full to this little bit, and some stuff in storage.

This room is at the bottom of the house. It has a door and a half oval window on the south wall, through 30” of stone wall. The north of the room has a few stairs up into a hallway with two closets, and a new wooden door at the end leading out into what will be a bathroom and an exit to the north yard which is down the hill from the rest of the village. There is a new very comfortable single mattress, a red tile floor, white cemented walls and ceiling...the room is a big arch, so the walls curve up and meet at the peak. The south wall is not painted or plastered, it is exposed stone. The room is not quite 4 meters long (north <-> South) and 3.5 meters wide. The peak of the ceiling is around 3.5 meters. Outside the door are stone stairways, a perpendicular door on the east leading into another part of the house, and west the stairs go down to terraced ground where the wedding ceremony was held. This is where there are some of the cherry trees. Looking south one sees the mountains that are between us and the sea.

Marseille is a big city, not tall, built mostly out of limestone and concrete. It is a port and has been for centuries. This city has trafficked in slaves, guns, drugs, opium, and who knows what else. There are numerous big consulate buildings and residences. Many countries have a presence here. One can assume that there are still big deals being made here, and probably for the same things as hundreds of years ago.

This is a Mediterranean city with a pretty mild climate. My friend is looking to do a bunch of interesting permaculture type things, including a balcony garden. Like every city I have visited there is huge potential for energy and food production, potential, which is not being explored on any significant scale yet. And like every city there are people doing things quietly, on their own. These people will be more prepared for food shortages, blackouts, etc.

The Urban Permaculture workshop in the Netherlands is coming up in early July. It feels so timely to me, and yet I feel like I don't have the contacts to promote it as effectively as I'd like. If anyone reading this has contacts in Europe who you think may be interested in the workshop or linking it on a web page or posting it in a forum, please let me know or just send them the link to our site http://urban-permaculture.blogspot.com/

I have concluded that my body is reacting to the toxins I've been exposed to in New Orleans, and most recently in Israel. I got dosed twice times in Israel with toxic chemicals. Once in Haifa we happened to be there while there was a chemical leak, which we heard about later. When we were there, though, my body went into reaction; my eyes were burning, my throat was getting sore and swollen...and those things subsided when I left the city. The second time was in a car where there were three people wearing a lot of chemical soaps and scents, and we drove by a place where there are known toxic fumes due to some industrial plant. Both of those times I had strong physical responses to the chemicals. Lately what I experience is more bouts of low blood pressure, a feeling of weakness in my limbs though if I choose to go for a walk or open a jar I can do it, and heat sensitivity (due to heat exhaustion in Israel most likely). I feel a need for sleep and down time, and I have some in front of me now. Also clean food and good water! I feel like I am spending physical capital on doing things I believe in, but which take their toll.

I am watching the US politics, and world politics in general. It is so pathetic to see the US Congress continue to lamely give Bush & Co. what they demand, more money for war; to watch the election circus spin along merrily when the reality of rigged presidential elections in the US continues not to be investigated and corrected; to see the obscene profiteering by corporations while people pour their life force into working for the corporate masters, and have lives filled with meaningless stuff and stress. People have it within their power to free themselves, and most people don't know it. Many don't even see how enslaved they are. I do think that is changing. I think in the US more and more people are seeing the horror that the country has become, and most of those people feel powerless to change anything. Awareness, though, is a big step, and out of that can come new choices. Neccesity is the mother of invention, and as the US economy collapses, even those who had been wealthy will have to make some significant changes in their lives. I hope that brings out creativity and kindness in people. That's what I saw in New Orleans, in the ruin of the city people brought their creativity and kindness, and it mattered.

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