Category Archives: Musings

Guerilla Gardening

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Ever heard of Guerilla Gardening? I hadn’t either until I typed in a random search and found, as always, that wikipedia had my answers. Guerilla Gardening is often an act of political protest from environmentalists but it’s strict definition is gardening on someone else’s land. Though this gardening is not strictly for political gain, it does include gardening as an entirely political gesture rather, than one with genuine horticultural ambition.

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In 1996, 500 activists in occupied 13 acres in South London owned by Guinness for 5 1/2 months. They squatted and gardened, grew their own food, in protest to the mismanagement of land and the urban suburbs in London.

Copenhagen, Denmark was also struck by Guerilla gardening when 1000 people turned an empty plot of land into a garden in one night.

This Guerilla Gardening movement has spread all through South Africa, Australia and England. I think it’s fascinating and encouraging that people care so much about the land.

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Capitalism advanced technology and motivated us to develop and build houses, buy things, have more. But isn’t it missing the point? Isn’t the point Community? Love? Learning and Inner Growth? I know this has a 60′s-hippy-ring to it. Why can’t we all live in communes and just LOVE each other?!

Or am I just longing for Eden again?

“The Earth is a Common Treasury for All”- Digger Gerrard Winstaley.

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Coastline Re-proportioning

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I walked down to the beach on my lunch hour today. When I do this walk, I get to walk for 10 minutes beside pastures. I stare at John’s cows and their curly heads as they lick at the salal bushes. I say hello to Lori’s horse and remind myself to write that article for the Island Independent.

I sat down on the rocky beach today and listened to The Wailin’ Jennys in my iPod and the waves lap at the shore. I find listening to the ocean meet the land re-proportions me. I remember how small I am in the grand scheme of things. I recall other moments, other beaches I’ve stared at the tide. The ocean grounds me, it centers me and it brings me to a reality I often find lacking in my every day life.

pender-beach-iiI thought of other coast lines I’ve seen. I slept on a coastline in New Zealand and I remember feeling full after feeling empty for a long time.

I’ve swam in the mediterranean in Italy and I remember thinking “Finally, I’ve done it.”

In a moment of despair, I found myself on the Comber’s beach halfway between Ucluelet and Tofino. I walked in the middle of a large crowd of seagulls and sat down on the soaking sand. I stared out at the ocean and asked “Why?” I still do not know.

To those who have left the coast, I do not understand. I need the water licking the shore to re-align me with myself. Now I feel refreshed, re-aligned, re-proportioned and I am utterly satisfied with my life. I am blessed beyond measure.

And I am thankful.

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Choose your Mirrors

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I have to thank James for recommending me this terrific book. I would like to “reflect” this idea off of you, dear reader.

We choose our mirrors carefully. You know, the one you primp and fluff yourself in the morning. I try to spend a calculated amount of time in front of the mirror. Some mornings, I do not recognize myself. This reflection does not reflect ME! The essential Self!

As I was reminded,  when I read a passage from this book, I am better reflected in those around me. I rely on a reflection of my behaviour, of my attitude from Marc, friends or family more than from a mirror. I can look into their eyes and see approval or disappointment.

Sometimes I do not choose my mirrors carefully. I lose my sense of self when I look through some people’s eyes. I lose a sense of proportion. I become too big and more than I actually am. Or I become too small and insignificant. I see my doubts reflected in their eyes, as I wonder if I’m good enough, if I’m strong enough, if I am simply enough.

Dear reader, choose your mirrors carefully. You are not crazy, you are not insignificant, you are enough! And you are. What a lovely freedom we have in being.

Let us be.   Reflected.

Creator Vs. Consumer

I often feel discouraged at our consumer lifestyle. Ok, on Pender I realize that I’m more removed from “consumerism” than most. I do not have a shopping mall, I do not have a sushi nook. I do not even have a shoe store. But still, I consume. I buy, I eat, I use, I wear out my clothes. I find this discouraging.

I would rather be a creator. I would rather grow things, make things, spin up the imagination and let er’ fly.

I bought “A Circle of Quiet” by Madeleine L’Engle at the TC book sale last month. I’ve been reading bits of it slowly. At the beginning she’s talking about teaching a class of teachers to teach children to be creative. (I know, triplicate use of the word “teach”) She says that one must remove “self” from conscious and then the imagination can flow. When you are conscious of self (self-conscious) then you have no freedom to create, to move, to dance, to sing. I love this thought. I’ve grabbed onto it with both hands.

Marc and I were in the grocery store getting food, (consuming) and he was dancing in the produce aisle. I ruined the moment by pointing out his glee. He became a little embarrassed. I pointed out his “self” to him and as if in a mirror, he turned away. I felt sad immediately after I’d done it. Then of course, he was defiant and wiggled away, dancing to music in his head. I did no permanent damage.

To spin the imagination up, and to create. This is a goal of mine. Before you all get carried away, I did not say Pro-Create. I said Create!

Behold, my creation!

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These are spinach and scarlet tomato heirloom seedlings. I’m so proud!

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These ones are onion and roma tomatoes. These tomatoes will be good for dehydrating, thus producing sun-dried tomatoes. They are a favourite on our pizzas.

Also, my garlic is coming up and making a real show of it. If you don’t tell the deer, I won’t either!

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Create Create Create! I’m trying…

Obedience

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I read recently on a blog that to teach your kids obedience makes everything easier.  It said there that if you teach them unquestioning obedience, that they will go about the task you set before them without complaining. I think this is a brilliant idea for parents. It would make a parent’s job so much easier if their child always obeyed without questioning.

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Something in my conscious tweeks at this concept though. There was a study done in 1974 called the Milgram Experiment. It tested people’s obedience levels.

“The experiments began in July 1961, three months after the start of the trial of Nazi war crimials, Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised the experiments to answer this question: “Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices.” -Wikipedia

From this experiment, Milgram wrote an article named “The Perils of Obedience.”

“I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.”

These participants were simply following orders, obeying, without questioning. This creeps me right out! Now, I know my job as a parent would be easier if I taught my children to obey without questioning. But does this set them up for ambivalent obedience later on in life?

I’ve been thinking that unquestioned obedience may be appropriate at a young age, but as a child grows up, I believe they must be permitted to ask the question “Why?” Without this freedom of thought, the risk of duplicating the Holocaust escalates.

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Dear readers, what are your thoughts on this subject?