Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I recently signed up for a class in permaculture and have been meditating on the concept of "edges". The picture above is a picture of a natural edge. This edge is the transition area between the forest and the field where there is more life than anywhere else either ecosystem. this is where the most varieties of plants and animals live and thrive.
We human beings also have our edges. Our yard for instance is our transitional area between our home and the rest of the neighborhood. If we are using our yards to their fullest, as the forest edges are, we can utilize this area for any number of activities or functions.It is not just a place to cut and prune every weekend. It is a place where we can live and grow as well. We can use it to grow horticultural and vegetable gardens, It is a place where we can play catch with the dog. We can even use it to entertain others. A hundred years ago the acre around the home was the part a farm where 99% of the farm activities occurred. It was truly an natural edge.
Edges however, do not simply exist in space, but edges also exist in time. Every morning is an edge. Noctural animals are laying down for the day and birds of all shapes and sizes are coming awake in song. There is an energy in plants and the atmosphere that were not there before sunrise and dissipates after a few minutes.
At night there is a similar edge the day creatures subside while the night creatures come out. As the sun goes down, bats come out to gobble down their evening ration of insects. Crickets begin their chirping and night birds calling to one another.
Seasons come with edges. Autumn and Spring are more dramatic in their coming and goings than are those of the seasons of Summer and Winter. One day it is summer green, and then the next the world explodes in fall colors and autumn activities as nature recognizes that the time has come to prepare for the deadness of winter. Autumn fades into winter. Then after several months of dead silence, a change occurs, the new edge of Spring begins to emerge. It begins slowly then boom! Everything seems to come alive again. New growth abounds and everywhere you look are the pastels of spring flowers. Eventually this edge too blurs into the coming summer season to wait until the next season's edge.
It is not just nature that has edges, we humans have our own created edges. We get up in the morning, and we have our transition time in which we prepare for work. We drive to work, another transition. We have breaks between work activities. We work to finish projects at the end of the day. Another transition and we're driving home.You get the idea.
Illnesses are transition periods or edges in our lives too. Illnesses are warning signs that we have not created the right balance in our lives. If we are wise, we recognize that illnesses are edges created for us to reflect on how balanced or out of balance our lives are.
Last week I was ill. I have not been ill in a long time, but I suffered food poisoning. Many people would say, "food poisoning, how terrible!" I however embraced the illness and used it as and edge of transition between the poor exercise and food choices I had been making toward making better choices. I edged away from the dairy and flour. I drank my meals instead of eating them. I drank lots of water, but I made sure that I had plenty of electrolytes as well. I distanced myself from excessive meat and carbohydrates and focused on small amounts of fruit and vegetables. When my system was cleansed, it began to return to normal. It is still not normal. It still has healing, but I am on the mend.
In many ways I feel better than I did before I was ill. Before the illness, I had severe arthritis pain that made it difficult for me to exercise. Now I am doing yoga again, the pain that I had before the illness seemed to have been cleansed away as well. I am eating better. I am meditating again. I even have had time to write here.
I have become aware that there are habits that I need to change. I get irritable and yell at my daughter. I don't like that. I am getting evening headaches because of the coffee I drink in the morning. I have started limiting my coffee to just two cups in the morning which is probably why the headaches are occurring.
As I recognize and utilize these edges in my life, my life will continue to grow and change because as it is in the forest garden, it is in the edges where change and growth can occur most rapidly.