Friday, October 31, 2008


..flinging your heart open to offer the best thing you could possibly give to the world.

imagine making that your passionate life's work.

i feel a hope blooming within me. this evening's light glows in the golden leaves outside. inside my chest, a different glow, with love for my husband who lights up my life.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

reading about masanobu fukuoka inspires me to write a lot of things

Masanobu Fukuoka was a pioneer of a very different type of farming. He advocated no-till farming, and i'm super excited to have gotten an electronic copy of his book from a holistic agriculture library at

I have to share a quote i picked up on wikipedia:

...if modern agriculture continues to follow the path it's on now, it's finished. The food-growing situation may seem to be in good shape today, but that's just an illusion based on the current availability of petroleum fuels. All the wheat, corn, and other crops that are produced on big American farms may be alive and growing, but they're not products of real nature or real agriculture. They're manufactured rather than grown. The earth isn't producing those things... petroleum is!
Masanobu Fukuoka, Mother Earth News interview, 1982

I don't know if petroleum alone is the source of fertilizers and pesticides, but it is at least partially what they are manufactured from. Maybe he is also referring to fuels needed to run tractors on?

The statement reminds me of something stated in the Corporation movie. Someone made the analogy between modern capitalism and an attempt at flight. An aviation pioneer had taken a plane off of a very high cliff and the air was blowing by. He believed he was flying, but it was only an illusion because the cliff was so high. Capitalism, too, appears to be working because the resources of this planet are so vast. But thinking that capitalism in its current form works is a false illusion. It is fundamentally unsustainable, and if it continues to be practiced, will lead to a disastrous end. I believe that disastrous effects are already seen everywhere, in many forms, whether it's food shortages, global warming, loss of biodiversity, and the loss of fundamental humanness and creativity and kindness to each other.

At any rate, if there is to be an end to this disastrous decline, it must come from a return to sanity. I know that my aversion to technological advances isn't completely right, but I feel that the vast majority of inventions, of scientific discoveries have hurt us more than helping us. For every new invention, accompanying problems are soon discovered. We think we have improved on nature by air-conditioning our dwellings, and yet we soon discover that power grids are in peril and our air is polluted by coal-burning power plants.

I even think that new green technology (solar power) will eventually be found to have some serious problems, whether it is in the products and energy used to manufacture them, or in the electromagnetic radiation they might produce, or something. Even though they're considered green (and I would certainly choose them over a nuclear plant or a coal burning plant) they are unnatural on some level. In the end I think the best solution would be yes, let's do wind and solar energy. But let's also stop using appliances that suck far too much energy. I guess another good research project for myself would be looking into the usage of different appliances. Creating heat from electricity tends to be very energy intensive, so dryers, toasters, electric stoves, hot water heaters, electric kettles, and space heaters take up a lot of electricity. Are there lower-energy alternatives? Clotheslines are easy. Toasters? I don't know a good alternative. Solar water heaters work--I don't know how expensive they are but they save a LOT of energy. I think low-tech models have been made by resourceful individuals. Perhaps my husband will invent one for us one day.

Speaking of energy efficiency, I live in an apartment that is incredibly warm all winter, where we can't control the heat. Well, except by opening the windows. Terrible energy use. So it's not like I am scolding. It's hard to make these things better.

I think I am going to continue my ramble just a little further.

From my own experience, the greatest obstacle to being kinder to our planet is the fact that we are all in such a hurry all the time. At my job, we throw away plastics rather than recycle--probably because we don't have the time to sort. Just a little time is needed, but we are so busy we don't take that time. (At least some Canadians recycle their fast food trash.) Another example--I live in a great little town that is probably 10 blocks wide each way. But how often am I in too big of a rush to walk to the store, the library, so i drive instead?

Many of us don't have time to grow vegetables, which would benefit us, our communities, our environment, and the planet. I wish we could just slow down enough to hang our clothes on the line, tend our vegetables, cook our meals, walk instead of drive somewhere. It would be an eco-revolution of peaceful, mindful choices, of less, and maybe somewhere in our slowed-down life we'd find more time to be gentle and concerned about our neighbors.

The faster, more stressed out our lives are, the more the corporations have us just where they want us, with no time to thoughtfully make the best choices for ourselves and the planet. We are just trying to survive from day to day.

The thing that really excites me about these thoughts is that while rushing is the exact thing that is wrong with our society, it is also amazing that the benefits to slowing down go far beyond the ecological.

Going more slowly allows us to experience God, our families, nature, and our selves. It allows us to experience life as we were intended to experience it. The rushing life of hyper-consumerism is one that will destroy our humanness, our relationships with old people, children, friends and spouses. But choosing to take the slow path is a way to return to truth, peace, awareness, beauty, and enriched relationships.

The price we pay is convenience, but I think that for the most part convenience is a lie sold to us by companies desperate for us to spend money on gadgets.

To return to Masanobu Fukuoka. This man died August 18 of this year, not long after I discovered him, via a blog post by keri smith. I feel like he reaffirms my growing belief that many things that are too hard and too complicated and too expensive are hard and complicated and expensive because they involve us fighting against nature, against the perfect way God created the world to function.

"Natural farming is not just for growing crops, it is for the cultivation and perfection of human beings."

I am looking forward to learning from this book.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

i've been wanting to write here, but i've been thinking about such a broad range of interconnected subjects, that it's all rather daunting.

the way the stock market has been tanking lately, wondering if a crash would really be a bad thing. couldn't it rather be the death of a bad thing? and wondering how to life a way that is free as much as possible of being owned by corporations.

but yet as our government is increasingly owned by the mega-corporations, and works to protect them more than its citizens now, free living may not be possible, while we are within the borders of this nation, and under its jurisdiction. which i guess leads to thinking of civil disobedience (the title of a book by Thoreau).

the vision of a life i'd like to lead becomes clearer to me...we talk often of oregon. gardens, apple trees, vines, trellises, a handmade dwelling.

i think about education--as i tutor for a living, and i really enjoy working with individuals, getting to know them, seeing their brains engaging with the subject matter. conveying to them abstract ideas, expressing to them (sometimes) how i feel about algebra. sometimes i love it. tonight i was tutoring someone who clearly had a searching mind, and somehow it makes the subject matter more interesting. maybe any subject is more interesting to a mind that is curious towards it. i wonder what type of education i'd want to give my children. what has been my mode of learning and exploring the world? many things about american public school education are a terrible waste. but can i think of a better alternative? how is it that a mind best develops, remains excited about learning, discovers the world, finds passion and purpose?

i feel like what i've opened my eyes to in the last few years has really changed me. my desire for increased simplicity, honesty, my disenchantment with my teaching job. the desire to live in a handmade dwelling. learning about building houses, energy efficient methods, beautiful dwellings. how do you pick between the inherent yuckiness of a material like styrofoam or fiberglass, and the fact that it's an excellent insulator?

then becoming interested in the politics, the ecology, the ethics, and of course the health implications of food choices. and in reading about this, coming more fully aware of how, repeatedly, our government has chosen the interests of mega-farms and massive food companies over the bests interests of its citizens. whether it's the environmental devastation wreaked by these mono-cultures, the artificial pesiticides and fertilizers (some of which are petroleum by-products, and so are linked with our war-mongering, too). or the pollution caused by transporting foods many hundreds of miles before its eaten. or the health effects of insanely over-processed foods, which are then fortified with the fad-nutrient of the day, and which when finally packaged (in too much plastic, cardboard, wrap, much of which never is recycled) and placed on a shelf at a price many, many times higher than that which the farmer was paid to produce it.

so the farmer loses, the land loses, the consumer loses. who wins? all those huge food companies, whose only interest is more money, increasing its stock value. not providing truly good food, not protecting our planet, not fair pricing.

what a depressing picture! and then i pick up a book like this, and inspiration overcomes me. there is hope. and i want to be a part of it. i want to help bring hope, beauty, good food, simple living, to this world, in some small way.

i feel like until this year, i forgot all about seeds. remember? how there are seeds inside apples? they aren't just part of what we spit out, we throw away. they are promises that this apple needn't be our last.

the cherry tomato plants i grew this year came from seeds from grocery store tomatoes. so did the peppers. they did really well. in front of me on the table are four seeds from an organic apple, a jonagold, that was so delicious and flavorful that we were astounded at every bite. maybe an apple will come again from those seeds.

it seems like a tiny lesson to me that our needs are not so impossible to fill. God gives us what we need. we don't need so much money to be living well. look! fresh air, breezes. we can grow things from the soil. sunshine is free. rain falls.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

entering in

what is the secret to a truly magical life? how do we find fulfillment, happiness, the satisfaction we dream of but often can't lay our hands on on this particular day?

i've heard lots of answers. i've seen people exuding magic, radiating something as they live.

there is a recognition, when i'm close. but often i am far from that path.

"slowness. that is the key to happiness..." said monsieur ibrahim in the movie of the same name.

there are so many other ways i've collected in my 'research'. but i forget, i indulge my sorrows, nurse wounds or resentments. i hurry, and want others to be more efficient. or i focus on the future rather than the present.

Matthew 18:3 "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

The only way to get in is this: childlike simplicity, being present, appreciative, unhurried, unworried.


Today, I am off work early. Maybe there's time for a little soak in a hot tub before I run off and tutor a new student in some Calculus.