Into the Edges

Choose Small and Slow Solutions, Forest Gardening, Inner Permaculture, Maximize the Edges, Obtain a Yield, Permaculture Principles, Use and Value Gifts from Nature / Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

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Rob and I were discussing ‘edges’ the other night, and I found the conversation to be so engaging!  I think this may become a common theme for me, but for now, this is where I’ll begin…

When gardening permaculture style, edges provide a wonderful place for a diversity of plants to thrive.  The edge of a forest, for example, has the tall trees, growing next to the shrub layer, with ground cover and everything in between integrated.  It is the most diverse area of the forest, and is what you strive to maximize when creating your own forest garden.  I like this metaphor for living a permaculture inspired life as well.  How much diversity can my family gain from heading ‘into our edges?’  How can we push ourselves and yet still remain comfortable?  At our current time in history, we know drastic changes are upon us, but we still have the opportunity to reap the benefits of cheap fuel prices and low energy costs.  I often think about how I can head into these edges and diversify before it’s too late.

I was lucky enough to attend a talk that Sophy Banks was giving for our local Transition Group, and one of the main messages I took away was that it’s alright to still have one foot in conventional life for some things: it takes time to work though change.  There are times when you make choices based on what you know is right based on deep listening for our planet, and there are other times where it’s okay to sacrifice integrity for the sake of simplicity or personal pleasure, in essence being kind to yourself.  Her example was that she loves chocolate, but knows the impact on the planet is significant for this particular indulgence.  Rather than feeling bad or depriving herself, she has limited herself to the amount she will consume, and makes up for her concession in other ways.  This idea was so reassuring to me, as I often feel pulled in two directions as once…on the edge between conventional living, and a more simplified permaculture inspired life.  It is hard to break away from what you know to be comfortable and safe, in order to live divergently.  To hear that an originator of the inner transition movement has these same feelings was reassuring.  We are living in times of change.  I cannot expect myself to be changed, but only to keep changing.  Nature has given us the patterns of evolution, of slow and small change.  I just need to pay attention and keep listening as I head into the edges…

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