If you’re growing things, May, for all practical purposes is a busy month so when the plane touched down on April 26th from Boston it was time to take stock and get to work. My  private mantra is ‘the best therapy for a working girl is work’ – the kind of quiet, grounded, well thought out work that follows in sequential order – framed within the themes and concepts of permaculture.

Matter, the word, takes its seat in The Latin root word mater (mother) where it made its way through time to the Latin materia (substance, timber) to smash head long into the Middle English word matter defined both by timber/substance and subject of discourse as in ‘things that matter’. Physics, Biology, Biomass, Laws of Conservation, States (liquid solid gas), are recent party goers, they also use the word to describe our world, and as we know – the present day English language’s use – indicates what matters. And there it sits today.

There’s also something called an Earth Grand Trine for those who dabble in the interpretive arts of Astrology (for those of you sniggling in the back of the room about ‘satan’s work as it relates to Astrology – in case you haven’t heard – the forensics still aren’t in on the validity of your interpretations of our reality either so pipe down). Let’s all learn to agree to learn.

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Here’s what Willow’s Web has to say about this.

  • “There is currently a very strong grounding influence in the zodiac with the Sun, Mercury, and soon Venus (in its own sign as of April 29) transiting fixed earth sign Taurus. This is farmer-ly energy. Sensual energy. Earthy energy. It follows a natural and routine course. It’s matter-of-fact and sturdy in a nurturing and comforting way. It is fairly unshakeable, fairly unflappable.This Taurus energy, which will include Lesser Benefic Venus in its domicile, slows things down to real time in the physical world, and this is something most of us need in the days of constant technology and artificially sped-up nervous systems.This Taurus has a nice feeling of putting one foot in front of the other in very basic and simple ways, anchoring us in the physical world and in the five senses.Taurus doesn’t get too worried about what lies beneath. It isn’t all that interested in research or psychological context or the unseen realms. It’s more than content to work with what’s right in front of it, with what it can see, feel, taste, hear, and smell. It’s more than happy to work with the magic of concrete, physical, Earthly reality.”

Mushrooms, they are everywhere; large, small, varying shades of taupe and tan, popping their heads above ground to let us know we are not alone. They come out from under the straw, the wood chips, the laid down grass, horse manure, from behind trees, beckoning for our attention and reminding us to slow down, be steady and I’m getting to know their routines and the love they have for the month of May.

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May: cool, temperate, sometimes windy but mostly wet is the pattern we’re easing into as the climate progresses and the Columbia Basin turns from planting Zone 6a to a Mediterranean Climate classification – warmer winters, wet winters, drier summers. The Native wildflowers way out in Zone 5 join them in the celebration of life, adding a little color of their own.

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Mythology: all the things we tell ourselves personally and collectively about where we are, how we got here, what we do, and where that’s headed. I’m thinking specifically about the US Western Civilized Industrial Revolution Mythologies.

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There is time.

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There is time. Time enough to get the 400+ starts into the ground, plant corn, onions, carrots, beets and potatoes and time enough to mulch in preparation for the coming dry season.

There is time. Time enough to observe; It rained for 24 hours one week ago and this Osprey, wet and tired from migration, landed in the black cottonwood and spent the night.

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The next morning the sun came out, dried him off and he left.

All nine roses we rescued in February (while taking down an old building in the next town over) have survived. They are putting out blooms of  inside the grape arbor area as companion plants to the grapes. This is something we’ve learned by working with Samsortya and the Afghanistan Tree Project, part and parcel of understanding the approach of 1,000’s of years of multi-generational knowledge passed down as guide-stones to intensive garden plantings.

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Afghan Tree Project Nursery

We’ve spotted a new bird species we were formerly unaware of; The Long Billed Curlew Numenius americanus and there are six of them and they seem to be making their home here.

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A pair of Ferruginous Hawks is nesting in one of our Austrian pines.

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There is time. Time enough to quietly interact; Last week I went into the western facing bedroom to get my work clothes and came face to face with a young male white tail deer just outside the large window. We both stood and stared at one another for over five minutes. He looked surprised and kept lifting his nose to get my scent, and obviously wasn’t going to get it, so he just kept staring at me. Then he wandered off.

There is time. Time enough to just be; Within the perimeter of what is fast becoming a thriving food forest, domestic and cultivated plant species are taking their turn in waves of blooms; tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, lilacs, columbines, comfrey, holly hock, pin cherries, apricots, almonds, cherries, apples, salsify, mustards, gummy weed, yarrow, sticky geranium, penstemon, strawberries, raspberries, sweet woodruff, wild rose, nasturtium, Siberian pea shrub, black locust, golden currant, prairie smoke, Mediterranean sage, salvia and purple coneflowers.

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The present day Mythology we have all learned to accept has ripped away both our time and our collective memories and ground it into an homogenous pile of consumerism with a New Religious language so powerful it has subjugated our own belief systems of faith, wonder, and humanity. Time is money, hurry not much time left, are you making the most of your time?, why spend time doing that when you can just do this, don’t get left out, don’t get behind, don’t forget it’s only available for a limited time.

 

Really? Go Fuck Yourself.

 

Not many people understand the path I’ve chosen – practical design in action (Permaculture, Regenerative Ag, call it what you want) coupled with Observation of the outside culture and world and this has been achieved by refusing to participate in the New Religion and intentionally creating the space and time by electing to do with less. I want what no one else does and I do not want what everyone else does. That simple, and that effort-full; warning: discipline and cognitive dissonance mine field. The balance of practical design in action and conscious observation of the world (and this culture) at large is where I place my energies. From this tiny place I deepen my relationships of symbiotic healthy partnerships with plants and animals while the Consumerist Human Shit Show that rages outside continues.

The outside world rips along at a much quicker pace; family birthdays, visits, medical procedures, moving, crisis, resolution, paper work, IRS intrusions, agency demands, and so we invariably find that in May, just as we’re settling into a calm methodical Taurian earth approach to all things practical in front of us, the outside energies bring the shit show to our door. Some good, some bad. Oh well, as they say in the rooms, it’s our turn.

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The parallels and connections to what I choose to read (I know reading is hard) is an uncanny backdrop to what I see actually happening to family and friends all around me as they are affected consciously or unconsciously by the system we have created – yep we created it – there are no victims only volunteers.

What matters? Matter matters. It’s helpful to separate the difference between problems and predicaments. Day to day problems can be solved in this way; don’t panic, take stock, do the next logical thing.

Predicaments must be de-constructed to understand the root problems that caused them in the first place because predicaments can’t be solved, problems can. Predicaments are what we’ve all gotten ourselves into lately, big picture problems so large and complex they have intertwined into massive unsolvable predicaments. The Bull in the China shop is a symptom of energies, intentions and no-design gone wrong that rears its ugly head as the smashing, bashing, crashing, thrashing, out of control thing that it is.

When the predicaments that have been laid down by the paradigms of the New Religious belief based upon cheap unending oil, and the language of the New Religion of money, progress, manifest destiny and exceptionalism has been so twisted as to remove any memories pre-1950 then yes the quiet stable practical Bull has been replaced by the dangerously stubborn comfort addicted Bullish animal that refuses to give up its self-appointed status as number one entitled taker on the planet.

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That’s why people around me get so thoroughly confused as to what is happening to them in their slipping down the slope of the life style that was ‘normal’ 10 years ago. It was promised by the hawkers and marketeers of personality over character to each and every one of us since WWII.

I call it Crashing.

Crashing is difficult for everyone that ‘gets their turn’. There is a lesson to be learned here; getting knocked down a few pegs in your lifestyle is not remotely the same experience as living through a life threatening event and yet the two are very connected.

This is what it looks like when our Bullish Neocons systematically take the energy required for our lifestyles.

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One example of a life threatening event is War, which, if you haven’t been paying attention has been visited upon no less than 6 countries in 15 years by the very same country you reside in, which is now slipping into various stages of decline. It is physically impossible to sustain the level of energy requirements ad infinitum over an extended period of time without demanding input of resources from somewhere else outside the existing system. I’m feeling Bullish so Bombs away.

And now that we’ve entered the sign of Gemini (communicator) I’m writing this blog after a six week lapse.

In the midst of May’s mushrooms & mythology I took the time to answer a question posed by Paul Wheaton who asked in a recent Permies forum post “are there any permaculture millionaires” and basically wants to know why don’t persons practicing Pc speak up more often on the forum.

But the line that caught my eye was the permaculture millionaires, uh…err…not sure those two paradigms will cross the bridge in handshake, more likely than not, the culture of comfort & pretend green practitioners will have shit pretty much ripped away bit by bit before they know what hits them.

I’ve been preparing myself to read The Confessions of an Economic Hitman (John Perkins) by first slowly reviewing Five Stages of Collapse (Dmitry Orlov), The Long Decent (JMG), Permaculture Principals & Pathways Beyond Sustainability (David Holmgren), and God is Red by Vine Deloria Jr..

As I replied to someone last night in a 1:30am email, who is in the midst of a very scary crash, and I love this person very much, “I know my family and friends may often think I’m ‘too intense’ or ‘too negative’ looking at me and how I approach life. I’ve had the good fortune of having the most treacherous and difficult life experiences (I wouldn’t wish on anyone) – and having survived them I consciously choose to continue on the path of Awareness no matter what.

So what matters? ; Thinking matters, learning matters, taking the time to realize where we are and how we got here matters and the notion to reclaim memory, humanity, and connection and the opportunity to trade a linear life of consuming, hurried, hassled, Bullish thrashing, for something much steadier, more practical, richer, and far wealthier.