At the “Christmas in the Park” event in Old Poway Park last Saturday, a warm breeze blew the wind through the trees, serenading the carolers with its own rhythm and melody as they sang to us the common jingles of holiday cheer. A Papa said to me that it was a strange evening – weather wise. “It’s apocalyptic,” I replied.
Last year, we here in southern California experienced two, full seasons of rain and moisture.
It was an usually wet, “El Nino” year.
This year, the land that had recently bloomed with so much new growth is now bone dry.
Santa Rosa burned in the early fall. (I once spent five years living in Rohnert Park.)
And, last week, Ventura and North San Diego were on fire.
Many of our friends needed to evacuate their homes. Many of our extended community lost homes in Ojai.
My brother is a fireman, as well. I was thinking about him, and all the others, hard at work.
Yet, in the face of all the burning, all I could do was to focus on the tasks that lay in my hands.
Namely, in addressing the rage and aggression that my 3-year old son had been demonstrating in some of his recent behaviors.
I came to see that his was – and is – just a mirror of our larger society and how there is a burning that is currently happening of male, public authority figures who have abused their power by assaulting women and just, generally, not respecting life.
Today, victims are rightfully angry. Thus, the passion of unvoiced rage finally rages.
AND I remembered what the saint Francis supposedly said when he was asked what he would do if he were to find out that the world was ending tomorrow.
“I’d keep hoeing,” he said.
IN the early fall, a new mama to our cooperative inquired about how I spend my time.
She was referring to the time I spend outside of running our home-based, “Mama & Papas” cooperative, as well as being a mom, of course.
Raising my son to be an emotionally and physically embodied man is my number one priority; it’s why I do so much of what I do.
I am committed to raising someone in the full light of all the values I hold.
One of which is wanting to raise my son outside and in the garden.
I was eager to join our brand new, Encinitas community garden when they first opened. Our son was just one- years old and, at the time, we were living in a 2-bedroom apartment. I would push him in a stroller down to our plot, and along the way also stop at our local gardening store where my son and I would enjoy time looking at goats, chickens, koi, and a tortoise named “Bubba.”
I was first introduced to perma-cultural farming when I was traveling the globe as a wide-eyed, 24 year-old. In New Zealand, I befriended two Austrian “Woof’ers,” (woof’ing is an organization that helps travelers live and learn on organic farms around the world) – a couple who would regal me with stories of cherry picking and learning about cultivating the land in a regenerative way.
Later that year, I visited their heirloom, 600-year old, family chalet in the foothills of Austria, and helped them to build a spiral, herb garden.
Almost a decade later, my serving Roots San Diego Sustainable Food Project as an executive member was a natural progression of my desire for intimately knowing our Earth. There, I was exposed to the wider organic farming community, through the annual conference Eco-Farm, as I also expanded my skills in public speaking and education.
So, I’ve been tending to our backyard here in Cardiff for about 18-months now, and I am so freakin’ pumped that I am (finally) finding my groove in creating a permaculture garden for our cooperative.
Which, I am ecstatic to announce, has become the home base of our “Little Sprouts Learning Garden.”
Most days, I pad around barefooted, watering plants with some grey-water collected from inside of the house.
Most recently, I could be found breaking up the compost (aka shit!) into smaller pieces with a shovel.
On this day, I was channeling my anger about how my partner racked up over 25 overdraft, bank fees. ;(
These days, I know how to prioritize my work.
When I have my young child with me we do all of these things together.
Lately, I have been having him help me more often. He helped plant seeds – peas, broccoli, spinach, kale, beets & onions – at the community garden yesterday. I notice how his helping me, and others, helps him to feel useful, wanted and at ease.
Then, when I have help tending to him, I tend to my other work – like here on the computer.
Old Poway Park is home to Midland Railroad’s cable car or speeder.
Complete with a freight car on the property grounds, a small train station for buying your ticket to ride the speeder, two model railroads and real engines stored in a barn, it’s a magical place for a precocious boy-child like mine.
On Saturday night, I teared up watching Santa arrive on the cable car. He was surrounded by a throng of camera-wielding others, as I balanced my boy on my hip and felt joy bubbling up.
How to create meaning around Old Man Winter that isn’t steeped in consumerism, exploitation or disconnection?
Personally, my experience growing up was all about getting things, and had very little to do with actual meaning and a Spirit of Humanity.
However, I’ve also learned that my protesting in the “Buy Nothing” picket line hasn’t rendered me a lot of sustainability – either of relationships, or materials.
So, I am re-writing the script of my life.
And I am redesigning the world into the image I want it to be.
Slowly but surely, I find my way.
Blessings to you on yours.