My allotment, a small gateway into the living land, has been of prime importance to my connection to the ground of Permaculture. I have been signed up and working through my diploma for seven years now. At this point, it means weaving together a thousand notes in earnest.
By Priya Logan
A permaculture diploma must contain some land-based designs which make sense though this was not something I had a lot of confidence with when I started. At one point I saw growing, building and creating with envy and trepidation. However, I also wanted to get there. I was more comfortable with the ephemeral aspects of creation.
Everything that sustains us comes from the land in one way or another. Over the past ten years or so getting my fingers into soil is something I have seen as a privilege and challenge. It also feels connective and restorative.
I have never undervalued having a marked out defined place. There is nothing that is more literally humbling than a direct relationship to hummus. It is impossible to not feel moved when a glistening green leaf of chard survives the winter months unscathed, or a cluster of marigolds rise unhindered in a hidden corner.
I was listening to an essay by Clarissa Pinkola Estes feminist Jungian analyst the other day. She talks about how many of us imagine that we would be ok if we had unconditional love and acceptance. We hunger for it madly at times. This is sometimes called “the good mother” archetype. In fact, she asserts what we most need is firm, clear guidance. It feels clear that this is the difference between nurturance of the soil and what is sold as nourishment. The ground is evidence of treatment and care and can only give when cared for. The land clearly shows when it is mistreated. When our sensitivity grows in this regard looking at barren overworked fields and decimated forest plantations starts to hurt.
Sometimes I go there to listen and appreciate the light, the relationship feels real and vital.
The guidance is there, what helps blooming, sovereignty, abundance and joy? The answer is different for every being of course but getting closer to the ground definitely helps to clear the lenses…It can also help with the dinner plate.