A Walk Among the Dead

I visited the cemetery on Crystal Lake Drive on a weekday in June of 1999.  I was enrolled in an experimental university course called The Philosophy of Death and Dying, and this was an assignment.  It was sunny, with white clouds filling niches in a wide summer-blue sky, and I managed to miss the torrent that came about five minutes after I left. It was Oregon, after all, where one can never rely on consistent weather.  I’d never visited a cemetery before with the intent to record impressions. I’d also never experienced the weird sensations that came on that day under my feet.

I arrived and walked to the river, a space in the trees signifying its presence. I sort of naturally made this my beginning and ending point for this walk. I took note of the clumps of water plants clogging the river’s surface, an old rowboat tied to the bank, still above the water’s edge, wind in the trees, thick grass, and a strong wish suddenly to stay there beside the slow-moving water. Wild poppies and chamomile flowers crowded in at my feet.
Behind me, the cemetery was divided into two kinds of sections. The farthest away was for raised stones, and the first section I walked through was for ground-level stones. Flags from Memorial Day waved from almost every grave, creating an illusion of life through movement. Other movement in the yard was created by a Blue Jay hopping in the grass
to eat worms and insects, then landing on a grave stone, and a Gray Squirrel loping like a sail from one large tree to another at my approach. There were all types of trees of different sizes. I speculated during my walk on whether this sense of life in the graveyard was due to the life of the wind made visible by flags, the awareness of the dead themselves, or the leftover intentions of those who inserted the flags.

Store-bought bouquets dotted almost every grave. Stones had depressions under them and were old, weathered, rainstained,
cracked, and lopsided. I took a straight diagonal. Starting out into the empty lawn, I had my usual air of bohemian flippancy. Soon a reticence touched down on me, like one of the white clouds turning to gray and descending to within an arm’s reach. I started not wanting to be there.  The first grave started to change that. A not-so-subtle tingling went up the bottoms of my feet into my calves. I started to see images of the dead bodies, the bones, resting a couple of meters under the ground, sealed off from this shining, wonderfully breezy day. I decided then and there that no one would ever bury me. I want to be scattered over a river and in forests and mountain meadows and such, a little bit of me returned to each variety of
natural space.

As I found myself reading aloud names and dates and such, I noticed my flippancy dissolve, and it became interesting to be there. I read a lot of the tombstones, and I was particularly moved by the graves for folks who died in 1881, 1885, and 1888. It was such a long time ago. I wondered how the stones had gotten to this cemetery, whether the cemetery was that old,
whether the stones were that old. A hundred years is a long time to a human being.

All throughout this walk, the weird and unexpected tingling energy rode up from the ground into my feet. Once when I squatted, the tingling graduated to the seat of my pants. I also kept having a weird sense that there was a consciousness
present over the yard. Somehow the dead seemed to be enjoying this day. I was taken aback by this sensation, because I did not expect to feel anything at all while there. I’ve been to a couple other graveyards and felt nothing at all. This was really, really strange. I spoke the following into a micro cassette recorder and feel like it deserves to be included:
There is a kind of presence, I don’t know, all these stones, like, this solid sort of a – you can’t just run freely through here without noticing that there’s this…feeling – I’m getting a really strong feeling out of the ground.
Just standing there on the surface with the dead under the ground made me sad for their captivity. I noted each time I touched a stone, and after walking for a while, I felt like paying respect to all the graves I walked over. I said a “Thanks” of sorts. Just as I started looking for a baby grave, I found one of a three year old. I sat down in front of it to ponder the enigma of Wilbur’s death. But here is what I recorded:
Good or bad for my spirit, I believe in vibratory influence – vibrations of today and in a cemetery of all the vibration that’s here and all the time and energy that is spent in a certain vibration in this cemetery by the living, plus the presence of the bones of those who have lived – I believe all of that contains vibration and there’s a vibration that’s left here – just from every single thing that’s ever happened here, or every person who’s ever lived who’s been buried here – lot of vibration that’s left over that continues to emanate a presence or an influence upon – a contribution to the world.
Then I closed my eyes at the kid’s grave. It felt funny, like floating, and I didn’t feel still at all, not solid, not in one place. When I started back the way I’d come, I said goodbye to the little kid in the grave as if the stone was conscious. It was funny – I did it unconsciously. I never had a feeling or any ideas for why he might have died. I did walk away with a sense that people had lived to old ages long ago. I thought the modern idea about not taking your stuff with you when you pass on could mean that all these people were left with was bones, pure and simple, no toys. I ended up back at the river, and I took note of two things I hadn’t noted before. Two large dead trees crisscrossed the channel near the boat, and lots of new growth in
grasses and other weeds was occurring up against dead material. My walk among the dead was kind of like that.

Cosmic Rain

After 14 years, I have relocated an article I read in the Washington Post one afternoon while attending college.  I was standing in my boyfriend’s living room, and I couldn’t sit down I was so excited.  But I laid it down and forgot to keep the paper.  Over the years, I tried to find the article again using search terms on Google and by writing to the Washington Post, with no luck.  Now that I have fortunately relocated the documentation of this important story, I would like to spread the word.  I think this information profoundly changes the world-view that American teenagers of my generation were taught in high school science and has far-reaching implications for human perception and experience.

In 1986, scientist Louis A. Frank released his findings to NASA that house-sized frozen water droplets are and always have been raining down into Earth’s atmosphere from Space.  The 40-foot wide “snowballs,” as the scientific community refers to them, were previously undetected with the instruments available due to the relative size and speed of the droplets.  The discovery was confirmed with further research, however.

The significance of this relatively new-found fact is that our planet’s water cycle is not closed, as our text books diagrammed with colorful cartoons, but open to space.

Essentially, then, little wet vehicles for all manner of materials enter our atmosphere daily.  I’ve come across numerous theories of Earth’s seeding from Cosmic origins, but what about yesterday, tomorrow, today?  Where did the last rainstorm over your town come from?  What might it have carried to your local soil, plant communities and crops, drinking water?

The relatively small comets Louis A. Frank discovered are mostly water, but it seems overwhelmingly obvious that an incalculable variety of organic and inorganic material is arriving in the cosmic rain we’re getting, especially since these water comets apparently helped Earth form its oceans.

It is a fact that on Earth rain clouds form when water vapor attracts to bits of grit and dust in the atmosphere.  Science has declared Space to be filled with dust, and ice composed of H2O has also been found (also kind of unnecessary to prove if you ask me) in numerous locations, both within our solar system and galaxy, and billions of light years away.  In my humble opinion, the question to ask is why wouldn’t Frank’s comets also be bringing us solid and probably organic particles?  I dare to say ‘probably organic’ because I think some things are just kind of obvious.  But that may just be me.

The Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland, famous for its spiritually-created gardens, received messages from the spirits of plants telling them that trees anchor our planet in its orbit.  Trees are able to attract rain to themselves as well via what some scientists say is an ability to create vapor flows and indigenous people say is a much deeper ‘like-attracts-like’ kind of process.  My personal experience is that trees anchor the planet energetically and also channel raw cosmic energies coming at Earth from Space in a way that disperses and sort of organizes the charge of the untamed rays into a usable form.  I have witnessed this physically as well as visually.  The founders of Findhorn received communications from the plant kingdom that corroborate this as one of the primary functions of trees.  Perhaps it could be that Planet Earth’s global forest is the magnet for the cosmic rain Frank documented.  Indeed, the research conducted surrounding his discovery perplexed the scientific community because there doesn’t seem to be any rain coming down on the moon.  The moon, of course, has no trees.

According to the Washington Post articles, thirty of the house-sized cosmic droplets hit Earth each minute, or “43,000 of these celestial snowballs arrive on Earth every day.”  It is my hope that whomever newly shares in the discovery of this awesome, mind-opening information takes a little more time and energy to observe the natural world and tune in to what s/he perceives.  I will definitely have more to share soon on this last statement.  (You can check Eco-Logic’s calendar of events for workshops.)

The original article can be read in its entirety here:  Cosmic Rain

 

The Hopi Prophecy Revisited

At the Oregon Country Fair this past week, I was lucky to motivate myself to get to the tipi in Community Village where a presentation was being held on the Hopi Prophecy.  I wove through the wide strands of people looking for clothing and other gear to enhance their appearance and enjoyment, and with purpose I arrived at the white towering canvas structure in time to claim a comfortable cushion and accept a shell of sage leaves to smudge myself.  The Hopi Survival Guide had frightened me as a teenager when I read it, but the message of the prophecy lingered beyond the dire warning of the direction human beings have been heading, that of choice.  I wanted to come to this talk at the Country Fair because whoever was revisiting it at this time could have something current to suggest about one of the oldest prophecies on record.

The tipi filled up, and a prophecy cloth was shown to us.  It depicted the actual drawing relaying the prophecy on the rock wall.  The cloth had been created by a man officially asked by the last native elder in charge of sharing the prophecy to carry on the teachings after his death.

The points that the speaker considered important centered around a third kind of major disturbance in the scale of time, shown as the third circle on the bottom horizontal line, after the rightmost vertical line, and the figures lined up atop the top horizontal line.  These figures’ heads are disconnected from their bodies as they travel the path of disconnection, basically the opposite of a spiritual path.  Immediately, I noticed that the third disturbance, as indicated on the speaker’s cloth, bore a striking resemblance to a symbol that I wrote about in a previous blog article, that of a pyramid with its apex hovering above its main lower two thirds.

The two symbols, that of people with their heads disconnected from their bodies and that of the disconnected pyramid, which is so common and yet strange nevertheless, seemed also to be obviously related to one another.  The discussion in the Community Village tipi centered around this symbology of disconnection.  The prophecy appears to indicate an inner sort of war, a time where people are stuck in their heads, disconnected from their hearts.

In my studies of mythology during a college exchange to New Mexico, I gained insight into recognition of symbols within the variation of depictions by different hands, in diverse cultures, and at various times.  The cloth shown to the group in the tipi during the Country Fair had a distinctly pyramidal third disturbance symbol, where in the example I found online (shown above) the symbol is not immediately recognizable as related to the pyramid I mentioned.

Human senses are deeply affected by environmental and internal stimuli.  For instance, perception is easily dulled with repetition of things we know to be untrue or ridiculous, as with television commercials or talk shows.  Entrainment to such low-frequency patterns of thought act on the mind to discount and eventually not see a variety of options outside of what is presented.  Eating food with chemical additives like energy sodas and neon orange snack foods has an emotional impact on the human organism, dulling and confusing our sensory capacity.  The kind of recognition that one can have, therefore, as a result of specific stimuli has validity.  In other words, you sometimes have to be in the right mood or state of health to see or be drawn to something, for instance a connection.

To me it is definitely possible that the Hopi Prophecy warns modern people of what is already perceptible as the early stages of a kind of global media pop-corporate culture seduction including pod-to-pod living and an all-encompassing drive for fame and wealth.  From personal mp3 playing device pods that block out the sounds of Nature and communication from other people, to the automobile that surrounds us in a slightly larger pod of glass and steel and carries us directly into our home box or pod from our work pod, we are distinctly cut off from what is real in this world right now as a mass culture.  Subliminal advertising doesn’t even have to be in use if soulless music is played in grocery stores.  Media conglomeration continues to squelch local perspectives and diverse reporting of what is news-worthy.  There are so many additional examples of disconnection in this society (U.S.) that I’m sure I don’t need to go into them here.  Perhaps it’s not quite as all-encompassing as in the movie The Matrix, but the similarities could be worthy of thought.

Here are the important questions as I see them:  how could this kind of disconnectedness have been foretold by an ancient people?  And more importantly, why is it worth being warned about?

I think that the first question is a whole other article, so I will say that I think they were deeply connected to their natural sensory ability and leave it at that for now so I can move onto the second question.  Disconnection is a serious threat to the survival of our species.  Whether you believe it or not, the fact is that humanity exists inside a living system where connectivity is the name of the game.  Everything affects and is affected by everything else.  If you’ve ever experienced synchronicity, you’ve witnessed the magic of how your seemingly routine decisions can help another person’s manifestation come about, and vise versa.  The casual conversation you have on the commuter train with a stranger on the way to work triggers you to see a musical performance at which you run into an old acquaintance who has just the information you were looking for, etc.  We are all connected in a mysterious web of energy whether we utilize it or continually block ourselves off from recognizing it.  Connection can be as simple and yet profound as being in the right place at the right time because a friend tipped you off to something good.  In terms of global systemic balance, do you think it is better to tune in and turn on to what your intuition is telling you or to stop and check your facebook messages every time the bing goes off on your smart phone?

I would like to bring into this question the symbol of the levitating pyramid cap.  There is an interesting video series that interprets this symbol in an uncommon way.  After watching the exploration of levitation via complex symbol magnetics, I decided that it is perhaps possible that the “Free Masons” called themselves free because they had discovered how not to have to lift a finger to build with stone.  Regardless of that particular interpretation, the floating pyramid symbol is almost everywhere you look.  I even saw it at the Oregon Country Fair!  Who knows why or what it means?  It does get used a lot by conspiracy theorists though to “prove” their theories, thus inspiring fear.

Fear itself seems to be mainly a kind of disconnection from reality, reality being the bioenergetic fact that human beings can create material substance from thought via emotional frequency. I postulate, then, that the Hopi Prophecy is a warning against separating from our nature, our inherent powers of creation, our basic connection to Nature and to each other, and an admonition to reconnect within, and to act in strong accord with the deep frequency of the heart chakra.  In this way, we can save ourselves from our own darkness.

On Sunday night of the Country Fair, I sat on a bale of straw next to my new friend and fellow camper Octavia, who is a good friend of Brian Stroud and his wife.  The wire and L.E.D. crystal she carried to illuminate her way and lost later that night reminded me of The Dark Crystal, and the way the Skeksis merged with the urRu again after the crystal was reunited with the shard.  I wonder if this is the meaning of the Hopi Prophecy.

 

Apocalypse Power

We’ve all heard the term “conspiracy theory.”  This is the idea that a master plot is being carried out by an elite group to take control of humanity.  There are several tangents of conspiracy theory, from government control, to alien take-over, to hollywood satanism.  After reviewing a number of explanations and analyses of these theories, I would like to bring some points I haven’t seen yet into the conversation.

While the main message of the conspiracy analyses I have digested seems clearly to be “get ready for suffering,” I’d like to insert Franklin D. Roosevelt’s deeply wise statement here, that the only thing to fear is fear itself. Those of us interested in personal and social evolution and grappling with ideas about how to best handle things like the Patriot Act and corporate personhood, for instance, can stock our toolboxes with methods for getting and staying connected to source energy from within our personal energy bodies.*  Such enables those seeking a source of personal power or a stronger footing from which to do their best work to sidestep the destructive energy of such theories as well as that of various energy vampires who out of their own fear endeavor to hold back the light of the awakening soul.  That mouthful basically means that within your auric field, you are safe, if you learn how to nourish and utilize its fascinating qualities.  It also means that there are many people in the world who avoid their own truths, feelings, and shadow selves by tormenting anyone they see shining brightly.  It seems easier to them to push others down than heal their own suffering and rise to a new frequency.

When I use the term ‘source energy,’ I intend to point the reader toward a consideration of whatever conceptual version of Great Spirit with with she or he resonates.  When I say ‘God,’ I get a Christian vibe from that word.  I learned from the Bahai faith, which I studied in college, to tolerate Christianity for its basic teachings of love and service to a higher good for all humankind, even though I can’t find the same attitude towards its mass murder of women intent to channel healing (W.I.T.C.H.es) back in the 15th to 18th centuries.  Native American spirituality has always held strong sway with me, matching up with my own earthy sentiments in terms of a natural diety who wants humanity to evolve toward greater health, love, and harmony with Nature.  As a natural mystic, in the style of Alan Watts and Van Morrison, I’ve chosen to weave that with a practice of Taoism, which fits my observations, studies, and experiences of the world.  My sense is that it doesn’t matter what name a person gives to what has been called ‘higher power,’ or how exactly one practices reverence for this entity or energy, in accordance with basic shalls and shall nots of energy exchange, such as respect for life, which goes without saying for the most part.  And I should probably say for the sake of clarity that I believe there to be only One, thereby rendering any arguments of satanic worship fitting into the definition of higher power irrelevant.

Having said all this, the main focus of this piece is the use of focus for protection.  Or, to be more precise, sidestepping of unwanted experiences or circumstances.  In my study of manifestation, which began when I lost a job in 2006, I’ve learned how closely it relates to Taoism.  Allowing events their neutrality opens the path to deeper experience and opportunities one might have missed were focus frozen on what has happened and how much seems to be wrong with that.

How this relates to conspiracy theories as presented in videos like ‘Are You Ready?,’ ‘Satanic Hollywood,’ future world map projections, and similar story lines is that fear is the main tool of such supposed agendas, yet the expose efforts available online as mentioned above just generate more of the same fear.  The tone of all the documentaries I’ve watched and articles I’ve read is the same, a warning.  There aren’t many solutions or action-plans is this material.  The movie Zeitgeist Moving Forward looks at one man’s design ideas about human settlements as a solution and does address the fact of our unique power as human beings to withstand and avert disaster from a spiritual base.  But after viewing the movie I was left with an unquantifiable dread and no idea how to get to a safe place, so to speak.  The message of hope seemed obscured.

Granted, not everyone will share my response to conspiracy theory.  Some may digest it wholly as fact and spend the rest of their lives scrambling to build a zombie-proof fortress underground.  Others might dismiss it all and keep on gardening, programming, trading stocks, or whatever they are currently doing.  The message of conspiracy theorists, regardless, is to be afraid, and this discussion responds by suggesting an option for transmuting generated emotional thought patterns with regard to the integrity of the energy body.

So here’s the crux of my argument.  Because conspiracy theory seeks to generate the energy of fear within you, it leaves its weakness open, and that weakness is the need to scare you.  Once you recognize that weak spot in the conspiracy argument for what it is, you can simply know that fear generates patterns of energy within your bioenergetic organism that create that which is feared, and you can then change your frequency to that of love and appreciation.  What this simple but powerful act does is move you out of the channels that lead toward the apocalypse or satanic alien takeover or nibiru collision or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, to be quite blunt.  There are many scenarios for apocalypse, and I won’t go into them because why dwell on what is not desirable?  In fact, that is exactly what this work is about.  A great film about focus in this context can be found on Youtube, combining the coexistence of quantum physics and conspiracy theory.

One final point I’d like to make in the conversation about conspiracy theories is that fear of an apocalypse of any kind serves to motivate awakening individuals toward the development of inner spiritual-energetic resources that appear to be designed to serve the well-being and survival of the human being, regardless of the state of the environment…  This is a Taoist perspective.  Fear or empowerment?  The supposed perpetrators of global attack on grassroots people can’t get you if you can get connected to the only real source of energy there is.  By doing this you can get on with the unfolding of your unique gift to the world and participate in the evolution of humankind toward greater good for all life.  That’s my $.02.

*I will be teaching a workshop in the near future on an effective way to get and stay connected to Universal energy currents that heal and protect us from within our personal energy bodies.  Keep an eye on my calendar if you would like to attend, or sign up for my newsletter to be notified of dates and locations.

 

Pizza Permaculture

One of the main principles of Permaculture is to grow by chunking, or to start with a manageable piece of a site and build off of it so as to connect each area within the larger context.  In other words, pick a spot that makes sense to you and go from there.  “There” can be the back door of your new home in late Spring, where you only have space and time for a small kitchen garden.  It can be a barn that holds your front-burner project.  Whatever you choose, once you start working Permaculture into your site, it becomes easier in a way.

For my intern, who is building a cob pizza oven for this year’s Village Building Convergence on a double lot in Northeast Portland, Oregon, a Pizza Permaculture garden made sense.  We assembled a design team and met on-site several times to assess and prepare the space for holding the workshop. 

Design considerations were limited by other activities and features sited nearby:

·    Sun exposure needs for the plants differ from that of the mushrooms, so I sited the tomatoes next to the “crusts” (burlap bags containing mushroom spawn & growing medium at the tops of the beds) without the use of cages.  This will allow the tomatoes to drape over the burlap bags and shade the spawn inside, creating a microclimate.
·    Proximity to the cob oven makes it easy for owners and their guests to bring fresh ingredients to the prep area when the pizza dough is ready to be topped.
·    Leaving adequate space for movement around fire pit seats and the wildlife tree bench ensures a welcoming and comfortable space as well as a functional garden.
·    Narrowing paths between beds allows for such a small garden to inhabit this special sun-drenched spot amidst other activities and gardens.
·    Visually linking the garden to pizza via shaping the beds like slices is a fun way to key potential users into the social side of Permaculture.

Permaculture principles adhered to included:

A.    Observe over time & design for specific site & client.  The owners have lived at the site for six years & have been able to witness & cooperate with site microclimates, as well as weave the pizza garden in with other design elements, namely the cob oven.  In addition, following the installation, they will be able to observe its success and make adjustments over time, extending the observation period.
B.    “Start small with intensive & productive systems that are manageable.”* The design is for a very small overall area, but inside it much is happening.  From soil layering to mycoremediation, the pizza garden allows for growth by chunking.
C.    Obtain a yeild.  Herbs will continually produce, and so will mushrooms.  Plants like Basil and tomatoes are fun to plant each year and widely available.  Giant zucchini can be shared with neighbors or provide potluck dishes to help the owners continue to build community with their neighbors and the Permaculture network of Portland.
D.    Connect using relative location.  We’ve placed the pizza garden in useful relationship to the wildlife tree bench, firepit, and cob oven.  This means being able to walk between all of these areas, carry produce fresh-picked from the garden to the oven’s prep counter, and sit comfortably on the bench and around the firepit.
E.    Use biological & renewable resources.  Donated plants & organic compost & mulches, & volunteer design & labor contribute to social as well as natural capital, or the long-term establishment of beneficial relationships & stored energy.
F.    Turn problems into solutions.  When we recognized that the beds had been sited 12” too close to the bench in an effort to give room for firepit seating, we were able to plan for narrowing the bench around the wildlife tree as well as move the beds out.  This solved the problem of people not being able to lean back against the tree before when sitting on the bench.
*paraphrased by Tom Ward

Watch this video from one of our site prep meetings:  Beds Are Dug, Now Let’s Talk A Bit

Here are the steps of the workshop:

1.    Scrape to bare clay earth, about 4 to 6 inches depth
2.    Lay down a thick layer of innoculated hardwood chips (6 months’ old Alder, Maple, Birch, Cottonwood, Ash = no more than 20% of pile)
3.    Spread a compost layer on top of wood chips and mix with chips
4.    Layer with cardboard that is 3/4 wet and has been punctured with holes for each plant

5.    Plant and topdress with compost

 

 

 

Following the installation of the mushrooms and plants, children immediately began playing a guitar and swinging near the new garden, and a chicken hopped in next to the smallest Basil plant.  We erected a chicken fence.

I wanted to make the workshop replicable, so that anyone not familiar with Permaculture could use it to get started in a manageable way, or show their grandparents how fun and useful Permaculture can be.  A young woman from San Francisco wanted to use the workshop to introduce her summer camp group to sustainable gardening.  A designer from Montana took inspiration from the lively discussion during the workshop for seeking a more deeply satisfying niche.  Look for the workshop again soon.  And start preparing your spiel to your grandparents.  🙂

Demonstrating Permaculture – Two Easy Ways

They walk by at least once a week, sometimes more often.  They gawk; it’s natural, especially when the landscape is so devoid of anything happening, anything exciting.  Who or what are they?  Pedestrians.  Delivery Personnel.  Soccer Moms.  Tourists.  Husbands And Wives Returning Home From Work.  People Who Took A Wrong Turn.  Future Leaders.

Not everything is worth taking with you.  Teenagers home from school on break might use the front lawn to lounge in bikinis for a week each year, but otherwise traditional lawns are an out-dated throwback to a time when America put down the roots it had always known.

To put it bluntly, it’s rather boring to drive or walk through most suburban neighborhoods.  One reason is that there’s nowhere to go, no adventure to have, unless you get off the sidewalk and hike into an undeveloped area nearby.  If you are lucky enough to have such a natural amenity.  Overall, most lots look about the same, with minor variations.  I’m not saying personalization isn’t meaningful.  What I’m talking about here is service to a higher good, something not done in the age-old race to meet the accepted standard and fit in.

It is simpler than it might seem to reinvent a front yard and utilize it as a demonstration site that promotes sound ecological principles while also offering a gift to the block on which you live.  In my work I have seen many old installations that were clearly thrown in by the property developer as an afterthought.  Usually, trees are planted only a few short feet from foundations and have to be removed, adding carbon back into the atmosphere and killing a tree that, if sited correctly, could have fed the biosphere for years.  Shrub varieties chosen for their mega-durability are often plopped in a haphazard arrangement, leaving no room to use the landscape in a satisfying way.  Other species are not doing well because they were improperly placed for growing requirement considerations.  These are just some of the tappable opportunities to start with.

A key step is to consider that your transformation needs to be understandable to viewers not used to seeing ecology in an urban or suburban setting.  Creating manageable wildness, so to speak, will give passersby the framework for seeing and accepting something not seen much yet in this context.  Here are two ways to accomplish this.

  1. Frame your demonstration yard with expected border material.  This can be anything from wood to structural plants and can extend around the perimeter if you are using your entire front yard as a demonstration site or just around a patch if you want to start small to test this out before committing.  Some research indicates that people respond well to “messy” ecology when it is contained.
  2. Provide a description of what is happening on the site or a way for visitors to interact with the landscape.  A sign pointing out plant species and their function for wildlife and water conservation, as well as descriptors for other features and their uses can legitimize a site and add to its educational service for children or ecology class field trips.  Perhaps you have the space to create a footbridge over a water feature with an invitation to walk over it, a bench with inviting fragrant flowers, or a kiosk where neighbors can share books and post fliers for activities.

If given the chance to experience something different from the norm, different people will have individual reactions; however, with some key considerations from the design end, another ho-hum turn around the block can become:

  • a destination that gets people out of their homes more often because they want to see what’s happening
  • an ecological oasis providing wildlife with needed stopovers that link larger habitat pockets in a dwindling ecosystem
  • a demonstration of how to make the transition from outdated to relevant
  • a stopping place to chat and enhance real community

In meditating on what to do with a front yard, consider the opportunity you have to lower your own costs as well as labor inputs while beautifying your neighborhood and showing your friends a new standard for keeping up with the Joneses, one which serves the greater good and not the ego.  Well, once you (and your neighbors) see it in full swing, maybe just a little bit of pride is okay.

Permaculture has the power to stabilize global climate.

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