Friday, July 28, 2017

School's end, begin again...

Today was the final day of summer school. Our theme was Ecology and Me! The week was full-isimo! The children were good, enthusiastic and sweet. This evening we had an awards ceremony with 100 children and their families attending. My heart felt full looking out at those eager faces, feeling the newness of connections that could last for years.

Lizzy, our yoga teacher, taught us a hand signal in class that encapsulates the week's teaching perfectly. For each of your hands put your index finger and thumb together (connection), now touch the points to form two eyes and touch the remaining fingers tip to tip (together). Turn it upside down and you have a heart (love).

Ecology is about how organisms are connected and it also deals with their environment. Isn't that the pattern of everything? Our micro and macro world is relational no matter the species. Another way to think about this symbolic gesture is see the world with the eyes of your heart and be amazed at the endless unfolding of connections. Maybe one day science will discover that all things are held together and have their very being and evolution by an invisible force. 

We could call that love.

For Love of the World
by Charlotte Tall Mountain

For the love of a tree
she went out on a limb.

For the love of the sea
she rocked the boat.

For the love of the earth
she dug deeper.

For the love of community,
she mended fences.

For the love of the stars,
she let her light shine.

For the love of spirit,
she nurtured her soul.

For the love of a good time,
she sowed seeds of happiness.

For the love of the goddess,
she drew down the moon.

For the love of nature,
she made compost.

For the love of a good meal,
she gave thanks.

For the love of family,
she reconciled differences.

For the love of creativity,
she entertained new possibilities.

For the love of her enemies,
she suspended judgement.

For the love of her self,
she acknowledged her worth.

And the world was richer for her.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ecologia y yo!!!

There is a tradition here that the rainy season begins on June 24th. It's connected to a legend that the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado prayed for rain on June 24, 1540, the feast day of St. John the Baptist, and after his prayers, it rained.
And so it was this year.  The rain began steadily and gently after dark. During the rainy season we have rain and thunder nearly every night until November.
Our farm is on the hill behind the smoke 

The morning after, the veranda was wet with what looked like coffee. That has never happened before but then we have never had an asphalt plant in our village. A renovation of the plaza and a new road along the coast is the new busy-ness overwhelming our town. A gray cloud of smoke hovers over the asphalt plant alongside the river and meanders up the valley to the foothills where our farm is, causing the air to reek of asphalt and tint the rain black.

I think it's driving the mosquitoes up the hills to our place too.

The dogs have forgotten what rain is after 7 months of dry days and nights. They are loathe to get their feet wet, clumping up on the porch in front of the fan. I'm hoping the rain will kill off the ticks which seem particularly bad this year. Recently, I noticed that there are tiny spiders around with shiny, blood-red balloon bodies, their webs dangling mummified ticks. I've decided to receive them as allies and accept their part in the balancing act on Slow Living Farm.

The plants respond gratefully to the rain, brightening, baptized and washed from months of dust. It is an eye-feast of greens. The datura I thought was a goner begins again as a young upstart. The twiggy poinsettia from Christmas is flush with new green leaves veined in red.

Prior to the rain, la chicharras, our cicadas, sing the rainsong. It is one of the sure sounds of the season. The frogs sing too and in the evening they come to the windows of the office to feed on insects. They sleep during the day under pillows and in pottery on the veranda. Walking at night with the flashlight, I am overwhelmed by the dense insect-life in the air, on the ground, in the trees - the night is vibrating with humming, buzzing, clicking and clacking.
The view into the orchard below is a strobing lightshow of fireflies.

Silent, with one eye open to the frogs and mice, a large boa rests wrapped in the bars of our window grill.

A young rooster has found his voice. His crow is the first 5 notes from the old sitcom "Get Smart". I hear it all day long as a playful tease, get smart!

Wally and I are are witnesses to the complex balance of our ecosystem on the farm. It's a relational world, one thing linked to another. In tropical Mexico it's more vivid and apparent than any place I've ever lived.

Summer pickins' from the farm 

I'm preparing to teach summer school in two weeks. The theme this year is Ecologia y yo! - (Ecology and me!)  Raising the awareness of digital-addicted kids to seeing themselves as connected and related to everything in this richly diverse universe, and to get them to see this as a pattern that informs everything will take a transformation of consciousness. 

I know, I know, sounds too, too...ambitious. But it occurs to me that a simple starting point is to learn how to see.

My mother gave my sisters and me the gift of deep seeing. Her enthusiasm for the wonders of nature in the tiniest details were our first exposure to pure joy. They were awakening moments. I believe that might be the magic key:  to be startled awake by beauty is transformative. For me it was the spark that ignited a blaze of love for the things of nature that has fueled my whole life. When you love something you naturally care, naturally want to protect, naturally strive to live up to your part in the relationship. This heart-driven ecology feels like it might hit the mark of a true-love marriage between the sciences of the cosmos and evolving human beings, or as we say on the farm: human beans.

I'm not a scientist or an educator. I'm a romantic - a believer that beauty, like love can save the world. It saved me!