I took my knitting and went outside, where I found a shady spot on the wall at the bottom of a slope. My purpose? To sit and observe. I would knit a row, then look around, watching the patterns of the sun. I studied where rain water drains into an easement. I enjoyed the view of the tree, where deer often rest when they need relief from the heat.
I am starting to learn about permaculture. At its micro level, permaculture is a design method that utilizes strategies to get Nature to do much of the gardening work. By enriching soil, guiding water, and combining a variety of plants, garden yields can increase while workload decreases.
One of the first principles of permaculture is to observe. As we spend time in our yards, we learn little details about them that will help us later. No planning, no judging, no ideas, just listening. There will be time for action and planning later in the process.
At the same time, I am entering into the deep woods of menopause, waking more at night with hot flashes and night sweats. While I take herbs to help provide relief, this is a time of withdrawing and observing. I am told that when I get to the other side of the turmoil, I can then figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. For now, though, I need stillness and solitude and rest. It’s been one reason that my blog has been so hit and miss. While I like engaging with my readers, I am going through a powerful transformation and have to let go of what I think I “should” be doing.
Yesterday, after a relaxed morning, a loved one needed my emotional support. Because I wasn’t exhausted, I could be fully present and helpful. Last night, before bed, hubby and I lay a blanket out on the deck so we could watch the stars. It was a perfect night, with the Milky Way revealing itself more and more with each minute we were away from the artificial light. In the Not Doing, we could marvel at the miracles of the universe that are everywhere…something we need to do more and more in these troubled times.
I know that as one delves into permaculture more deeply, there are larger implications for our communities and our world. Already, I have learned enough to blow my mind about the solutions to food and climate issues that already exist. For right now, though, as I say goodbye to the young woman I was and embrace the beginning of my crone-ness, I am content to observe my own land and let it speak to me. My garden and I will grow in our own time and in our own way.