17 June 2010

I'm in the next step of the transition to living outside this summer. The last two nights I've slept in my tent up by the beaver pond on the land in Marshfield. My friend from Jamaica is here, and we're making out campsite. We have the start of a kitchen. Another friend loaned me a blowtorch and I tell you, you can make a cup of coffee really fast with a blowtorch. I wish I'd known about blowtorch cooking years ago!

It rained yesterday and last night so it has been a soppy campsite. I'm very happy to say that I can go up the hill to the campsite with no leg pain! I was in agonizing pain doing that walk a few weeks ago but I've been riding my bike and stretching and getting stronger.

Living outside changes everything. It reorders my psyche. There is no urgency at all, no electrical hum vibrating through me, no feeling of schedule or time. There is just...the lilies, the mountain, the pond, the wild strawberries, the symphony of birdsong, and on and on. I love it. It is such a gift and a privilege to be able to be surrounded by such beauty.

Now, though, I am back in Northfield. I have three days of stuff to do that require me to shower and wear clean dry nice clothes. I am performing a wedding on Saturday for a dear friend, so tomorrow is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, then the ceremony Saturday, then Sunday I have the radio show. My friend from Jamaica is also doing other stuff for the weekend, visiting her kids and friends etc. Monday we'll go back and resume. Next week's task is to get some vegetables planted and keep working on the campsite, and probably other stuff as well because we are preparing to host EAT in July!

The Earth Activist Training is a great permaculture course and we are hosting it for 2 weeks July - August. People are coming from as far as Australia and Brazil. It's very exciting and fun, and of course the EAT family grows and people go off and do amazing things in far flung places, so it's all about offering and helping and service. There is a lot to do in preparation, so that is happening.

The more time I spend in Marshfield the more I like being there. The folks who own the land are pretty amazing; smart, kind, ethical, generous, etc. They have invited people to form community with them in this place, and really opened their lives to people, and they do it with so much grace, showing a kind of commitment and communion with life that I find inspiring.

Another aspect of this living is that I have no idea what the most recent catastrophes are, or about whatever is the latest corruption scandal. That's very nice.



11 June 2010

I love the little garden I planted on the lawn. Last year I sheetmulched a roughly 6 x 15 piece of the front lawn and grew my summer veggies there. This spring the garden came back with a volunteer bumper crop of mustard greens. It's been such a warm spring that I planted my regular stuff in mid May and it all survived; potatoes, garlic, 2 summer squashes, red kale, green chard, more mustard, 3 kinds of bush beans, arugula, dill, sage, basil. I've been eating mustard greens for weeks and just started on the arugula.

I was outside weeding today. In fact I can't keep myself from it. I go out and weed many times a day. I've never been into weeding but I am really enjoying pulling out the grass sprouts and making room for the kale babies and the chard.

This morning started with an email from my Aunt telling me that my Uncle had died yesterday. He was in his late 80's. He had a peaceful passing. He was the last of the 5 Zeichner brothers of which my father was the eldest. This uncle was the middle son, the one who would have been a pro baseball player in New York where they lived but his mother wouldn't allow him to practice or play on the sabbath. They were orthodox Jews from Austro-Hungary and Romania.

I haven't spoken with my Uncle in a while, maybe a year or two? My Aunt had emailed just a week or two ago to say that he was in a convalescent home and that his lucidity was starting to fade.

me today
in the garden
a middle aged man with a paunch
talking to the plants
eating them
enjoying the aliveness of the garden
the magic of seeds
that grow
bear fruit
and grow again.

Blessings on your journey Uncle, until next time if there is one.


31 May 2010

I've spent most of my life in Vermont. I'm 50 and have lived here for 30 or so of those years. Never have I seen what I am seeing today. The air is filled with smoke. I can barely see the mountain 2 miles away. The forests of Quebec are burning.

This spring has been very dry and I've been aware of the fire danger. Having spent some time out west in the last few years I learned to be cautious about fire. I saw a forest fire in British Columbia in 2005. This is so rare here in the verdant moist northeast, I have never seen it before.

Now do you believe in climate change?

Deer ticks had not made it this far north when I went traveling in 2005. Winters were too cold. Now they are here.

Now do you believe in climate change?

The Gulf of Mexico is being poisoned by oil and the toxic chemicals BP is using to try to appear effective.

Humanity is getting it's wake up calls and some people are still in denial.

BUT never fear! Life will win out! Earth can and will heal from our many insults. I am not worried about Earth.

Humanity, though, appears to be committed to reducing its numbers. We are killing ourselves fast with war and violence, and more slowly by poisoning the surface of Earth. As in any ecosystem, when one life form overpopulates, nature culls it. We are part of nature so we are actually doing a lot of our own culling. The other life forms on Earth need us to reduce our numbers and to stop taking taking taking. If we won't do these things by choice it will be done to/for us by the rest of nature.

Life is sacred. By sacred I mean that life is immeasurably magnificent as part of the cosmos. Life will continue, forms change.

23 May 2010

It’s another beautiful May day in Vermont. It’s the 23rd which is my mother’s birthday. She’d be 82! My father’s birthday was 5 days ago and he’d be 89.

Life is somewhat idyllic for me right now. The weather is nice. The little garden I planted in Northfield is growing. I’m eating mustard greens already, volunteers that self seeded last fall. I’m teaching another term at BVU. The class is about globalism and what’s happening to/on the Earth, which is pretty timely, and the students are very engaged which is satisfying for me as a teacher.

I have been watching as the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues to unfold, or should I say to grease the surface of the gulf. The scope and scale of this is hard to fathom. The amount of death and destruction will be imeasureable. It’s only just starting. This will trouble the region for years, possibly decades and beyond. I’ve been watching and feeling this weird calm about it all. If I got as upset as I could over this it would make me ill, so I haven’t let myself go there. If I believed that my own upset would heal this then I’d do it in a heartbeat, but that is not the case.

Now there are conspiracy theories surfacing about this event. Did Haliburton sabotage the drilling rig in order to keep Royal Dutch Shell from winning the franchise to drill in the region? Is the creation of a dead zone and the eventual human depopulation of the region a goal for someone? It seems insane, but then we know that most of the people “at the top” are insane because they keep authorizing murder and destruction of Earth so, why should this situation be any different? I do not have the answers. In a way, it doesn’t matter. This is all part of our collective dream, our collective nightmare.

Much of what’s happening on Earth is the result of human activity. We have polluted the air, the water, and the soil. We have polluted ourselves. We have set in motion gradual release of poisons into the environment, i.e. nuclear reactors dumped in the seas, slowly leaking plutonium into the waterways of the Earth. We have changed so many things through imbalanced use of the gifts the Earth offers. There are too many of us, and we don’t seem to be getting any smarter as a group.

I am watching it unfold, as you are. I am working with friends to make community, to grow and eat healthy food, to laugh and cry, to love and support. I continue to experience my own emotional spiritual journey with the specifics that are unique to me, and to be part of the journey we are all on together.

Much love to us all.