Urban dance to country apple memories

Yesterday we went to the Victorian B-boy championships in the bowels of Collingwood. We saw Demi from ‘So you think you can Dance’ a TV show that we’ve gotten into. The dance dueling was remarkable to watch. Great music and some phenomenal moves of seemingly rubber bodies.
It was a great way to spend an afternoon of fun! Such a treat for me to spend time with emma doing something we both enjoy, especially with her pending knee surgery.

Today we went out to Alice’s place up by Hanging Rock. We picked apples from what she calls the ‘apple forest’. Not quite an orchard, a bit more chaotic and permaculture like. We picked Fuji’s mostly, some Prima’s and a couple of other varieties. There was a device that chopped & crushed the apples, human powered with a rotating wheel that moved the blades & moved the chopped apples through the crusher. The pulp was put into what looked like a loose barrel. When there was enough to press, a wooden disc was put on top of the pulp and several pieces of wood before the turning decice was screwed on. Juice started to trickle out already. The pressing & turning saw the juice flow! We sampled a bit, yum! So sweet!
I loved the fresh sprinkles of juice on my face as I turned the crank, it allowed a childhood memory to surface. I think it was a more mechanized process but I remember being at Kofoeds in Kelowna, they had a big old apple tree in their yard. One year they rented a juicer. I remember the brown liquid with a bit more sediment than the juice at Alice’s. I’d totally forgotten that the last time I was around for apple juice making was when I was about 7 or 8.

A legal system for all species? Wild Law (from Orion Magazine)

[this was sent to me by one of the Seeds – it’s a bit long but even if you just read the first bit or skim thru the rest of it, you’ll start to see how things can be different.}

IT WAS THE SUDDEN RUSH of the goats’ bodies against the side of the
/boma/ that woke him. Picking up a spear and stick, the Kenyan farmer
slipped out into the warm night and crept toward the pen. All he could
see was the spotted, sloping hindquarters of the animal trying to force
itself between the poles to get at the goats–but it was enough. He drove
his spear deep into the hyena.

The elders who gathered under the meeting tree to deliberate on the
matter were clearly unhappy with the farmer’s explanation. A man
appointed by the traditional court to represent the interests of the
hyena had testified that his careful examination of the body had
revealed that the deceased was a female who was still suckling pups. He
argued that given the prevailing drought and the hyena’s need to nourish
her young, her behavior in attempting to scavenge food from human
settlements was reasonable and that it was wrong to have killed her. The
elders then cross-examined the farmer carefully. Did he appreciate, they
asked, that such killings were contrary to customary law? Had he
considered the hyena’s situation and whether or not she had caused harm?
Could he not have simply driven her away? Eventually the elders ordered
the man’s clan to pay compensation for the harm done by driving more
than one hundred of their goats (a fortune in that community) into the
bush, where they could be eaten by the hyenas and other wild carnivores.

The story, told to me by a Kenyan friend, illustrates African customary
law’s concern with restorative justice rather than retribution.
Wrongdoing is seen as a symptom of a breakdown in relationships within
the wider community, and the elders seek to restore the damaged
relationship rather than focusing on identifying and punishing the
wrongdoer.

The verdict of a traditional African court regarding hyenacide may seem
of mere anthropological interest to contemporary Americans. In most of
today’s legal systems, decisions that harm ecological communities have
to be challenged primarily on the basis of whether or not the correct
procedures have been followed. Yet consider how much greater the
prospects of survival would be for most of life on Earth if mechanisms
existed for imposing collective responsibility and liability on human
communities and for restoring damaged relations with the larger natural
community. Imagine if we had elders with a deep understanding of the
lore of the wild who spoke for the Earth as well as for humans. If we
did, how might they order us to compensate for, say, the anticipated
destruction of the entire Arctic ecosystem because of global climate
change, to restore relations with the polar bears and other people and
creatures who depend on that ecosystem? How many polluting power plants
and vehicles would it be fair to sacrifice to make amends?

“SO WHAT WOULD A RADICALLY DIFFERENT law-driven consciousness look
like?”

Continue reading

home consumed

I just watched a 3 bedroom terrace house sell for $985K looked half decent from the front but a woman I spoke with who had been inside said it needed some work. Insanity! This gnaws at my hope for owning a home. I long for a place to put rain water tanks, a lawn-free yard, big garden fed by gray water…don’t get me started!

Then hearing about the sub-prime mortgage fiasco with the sex-scandal red herring and tent cities of newly homeless, victims of a greed-mongering economic system … Leaves me far from wanting to partake in the property game. But renting isn’t going to get me closer to my desire, and ranting ain’t gona change the system! The economy continues on it’s sucicidal path only because the collective “we” participate in it.

I’ve started to imagine what it might be like if we began to voluntarily scale back our consumption, how we could create it in a workable way that is grounded in love & generosity, ensuring all in our communities had what they needed. I was inspired by a colleague who has significantly reduced her families consumption as a response to the dredging of Port Phillip Bay. That kind of link is vital in these times of blind & conspicuous excess. I was so glad to hear of it! Bring it on! It could be the start of something audacious and innovative. but where does it leave my hope for a home of my own? wafting in the creative responses and new ways of being, living, co-habitating…

Ancestors at my Back

It came in a large thick paper envelope, stapled shut. It wrapped the images of her funeral. I expected worn pieces of cloth sewn together. To my surprise the patterns so familiar seemed new and the quilt that bound them together felt almost store bought. But I know this memory quilt was made lovingly by the hands of her daughter, my aunt who had brought back her dresses after she died. The fabric from the jacaranda coloured fleece jacket was fashioned in the shape of a bird like the many who fed from the little wooden bird house abundant with seed next to her window. The pink hearts surrounded by squares of gorgeous flower prints, the lilac & cornflower blue checked stripe I remember well. The terry teal patch, once her housecoat. All these squares assembled to bring the presence of my grandma long after she departed this world.

I’ve had a bit of a rough time since she died, and then my “grandmother in-law” (cousin’s grandma) died a few weeks later, see earlier blog post. I didn’t anticipate the unexpressed grief that would underly and undermine my well being. I didn’t realise I needed more space to express the impact and be gentle with myself. It was compounded by difficulties at work, and made for some miserable days of feeling like I had to be on guard and deny the emotional vulnerability at my core.
I’m thankful for the people in my life that helped me move through and out of that space. And i’m thankful to marti for this beautiful lap quilt.

It gives me a tangible memento for the grandmothers at my back, supporting me from their new place in the web of life. I imagine Ruth Nichols and Barbara MacAdams standing behind me, supporting me as I move thru life, flanked by all my family, all my relations, my mentors, Joan Yardley, M. Anne Clarke, Rachel Carson, Emma Goldberg… All the beings, frog, banana slug, lynx, quoll, red winged black bird… All composing the living legacy of this moment. My blood that evolved from the oceans, from the priomordial soup. My grandmothers connect me to my ancestors of all beings of all time.

Green Labelling – Another Inconvenient Truth

This article asks some important questions about the rise in ‘green labelling’ and has an analysis that i appreciate. It encourages us to face up to the reality of ‘sustainable consumption’ and reminds us that we have the power to influence consumer culture, we can be mindful and conscientious. I highly recommend it. Thankfully it’s not a long one to read!

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/123/another-inconvenient-truth.html