Will calls me ‘superlative girl’ and rightly so. I returned last night from a business trip in Boston, so I’ve been gone for 6 days. I returned to a scene that has me absolutely awestruck; regeneration on a scale that I could not have imagined four years ago – one year ago to be honest. The tide has turned. I couldn’t even finish my walk because I was so overwhelmed by the growth each and every tree and shrub has achieved in just six short days, so I’m taking a break to write this. There is no way to describe what has taken place.

Four years ago this place was miserable; hot, dry, desolate, devoid of shade, unprotected, and the trees could be counted on the fingers of our two hands combined, it was in a desperate condition. I could not understand at that time the difference between money and wealth so I did what had to be done; research, observation, work, lots and lots of work every day no matter what, one project after another applying everything I could learn about permaculture – the themes and concepts of regeneration.

Now I know what wealth is and how to describe it; wealth is a symphony of plant diversity born from healthy soil, nurtured by Pc techniques, encouraged by right use of water, protected by a desire to achieve harmony, and a tolerance towards all life.

This is the formula that has been so challenging to articulate, and equally so – why it’s so hard to describe to persons caught up in the distractionary chaos of consumer capitalism (with all its disconnected opinions and disjointed techno-babble frame work).

We (and I’ll point the finger square at the Western Industrialized nations) have done so many things wrong; we have assumed our right to excess, lied to ourselves about our true responsibilities, and most of all laid waste to what could have been shared abundance by way of reasonably paced growth. If we had tempered our desire for arrogant hubris and addiction to live in a bubble of ‘safety’ and ‘exceptionalism’ we might have made it. We might have had a model worth exporting to the world. Instead we wasted it.

Last night I could see the lilac trees heavy with flower blooms as we rolled into the driveway at midnight, yes even in the dark under dim starlight and passing cirrus clouds. I awoke to a scene of green diversity that stopped me from walking the property any further and made me come back inside to write this.

What has taken place can happen in Jalalabad, and Kabul and here (all the same exact climate) if only we had slowed down, used humility and taken the time for observation and tolerance. The last ethical president to take office in the white house spoke to this condition; that excellence is not who we can conquer, or what excesses we can export or what we can take from other nations and his words allude to a phrase that comes to mind; you are what you do when no one is looking.

At times it has been lonely, many times it has been hard to describe in conversation exactly what we have been doing, but now I see it, the uncountable positive feed-back loops that have mirrored what can take place when you humble yourself enough to slow down, observe, connect and work in concert with Nature, not against her.

We don’t have to throw out technology, we don’t have to live in abject poverty, we could re-frame what wealth actually means and be better humans – more satisfied whole connected humans as a result of it.

Sheila