Saturday, September 24, 2011

Noticings


We were challenged in one “circle time” (when the group gathers in a circle to learn and discuss) to recall something we noticed … but not just on the surface.  Noticing to the point of thinking or studying or delving into some aspect of it deeper.

I didn’t share with the group at the time because the conversations seemed to spiral into plans of the day … but what I was thinking about was the patterns in nature.  Just earlier, I was contemplating the balanced growth of the trees we were clearing and cleaning with branches sprouting opposite in one way and then the next pair up at 90 degrees. As I sat there, I thought about the thin-leafed swirls in a flowering plant, the thorns on some of the vines, the buds of the berries, the patterns of leaves, even the interesting elements of the weeds we pulled … all different, all very patterned, and all with specific purposes. 

It made me wonder if we could learn from them.  What makes the tree strong?  Could it be applied to life principles?  How about the need for protection?  What do the swirls do?  Are some things in existence simply for the joy of aesthetics? I’m sure all is valid … but I have a sneaking suspicion that if we could know every reason for every element, there would be a purpose to it that goes beyond beauty.

But before my thoughts ramble too long, I should also try and remember a few other “noticings.” One was a personal shift today.  Until this afternoon, I felt a little like I didn’t have much to offer other than my help (not that it isn’t significant, but I’m not an expert in permaculture, etc.).  Then, this afternoon as we split up into design teams to generate some ideas for the structure to protect the garden plantings, I started to have ideas.
IDEAS! It felt good to have ideas – ones that were not in context of job or family or personal goals.  Every team was strong and had good ideas.  But contributing to a design team that ended up receiving the most stones (votes) was truly exciting.  HOWEVER – I don’t say that in a way to make it sound like we did anything extra special.  Truly, some designs were so similar that they could have been easily merged.  And each design has great strengths that we may find to be more relevant as the actual project starts.  BUT – coming from a relatively dry place (or so it seems to me sometimes), I felt a little like those who dream again.  I started to feel alive!  IDEAS! Good ideas. They make me smile.

But before I wrap it up completely, there’s one other significant “noticing” that plays into the picture.  As we worked in the days and hours before, it was quite an unusual feeling to be away from normal life (i.e. rushing from one thing to the next, in front of computers, in meetings, in cars, always over capacity).  Even the sound of spades and forks and rakes in the dirt was like meditation.  Birds calling in the forests, male deer calling in the fields, branches and stems brushing together, footsteps in the dirt … all brought an organic peace that quietly seemed to reassure my soul without me even knowing it.  It’s a lovely feeling.

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