“Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos.” ― Bill Mollison (An Introduction to Permaculture)
Living entrenched in an inclusive and collaborative community is my one and only true goal in life. For those of you who read here often it will come as no surprise that this is the one thing that I strive for on a weekly basis. It’s the reason that I work in the job that I do. It’s the reason why I spend my spare time working on grass roots initiatives to grow stronger and more resilient connections between people in our community and it’s come to be one of the primary reasons that I still write this blog. I write about community and connectedness not because it’s fashionable or on trend (that in itself would be terribly debatable anyway) – I write about it because I think it’s a conversation that needs to be had as often as possible in every arena possible. The blogging arena is often cluttered with quick fix listicles and must-do lists that suggest bettering ourselves and our lives is as simple as 1-2-3. But the truth is, it’s not. It’s not that simple.
There is no listicle for taking back many years of consumer driven culture and transforming it into community connectedness. It takes conversations, and mistakes. It takes sacrifices and very small, simple changes a thousand times over before you truly see it happen.
Last weekend I worked in a friends backyard as a part of a permablitz. For those of you who don’t know what that is – basically it’s an old school busy bee with permaculture design and principles as the foundation. Permaculture, simply, is the development of food growing systems that are intended to be both sustainable and self-sufficient.
Permaculture principals are so much more than just foundations for gardens. They are foundations for living. They can be applied to any circumstance from growing food to designing urban landscapes to forming strong relationships and growing communities. The core of the group of principles is that there is a relationship and connection between all things.
The same can be said for our communities. We are all connected, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first. We are all in this together.
I enjoy gardening. I have enjoyed having a very successful first season from our own kitchen garden and from watching my child eat the vegetables that she sowed first as a seed and then tended to as a young plant. But engaging in events such as a permablitz, for me, have little to do with the garden. Sure, I learn new skills – but first and foremost I watch connection. I see how it can work and I within that structure I see examples for building stronger connections in our town outside of the permaculture community.
The connections that we make with other people are everything.
They are the most important things in our lives.
Our relationships both familiar and distant; with both people and earth; are the very foundation of what our society is built on.
I can’t help but wonder how we ever allowed ourselves to become so disconnected. But even as disconnected as we are now… the most wonderful truth is that there is always a way back.