Early December already! I realize I have not posted anything on here since May, and the picture of those creepy-crawly caterpillars greeting me every time I went to the blog site was enough to make me turn away. I was starting to feel guilty. I had let down “my people.” I watched the site visit statistics drop precipitously.
This whole blogging thing can become a nagging commitment. I mean, why do it? is it meaningful? is it helpful? does anyone care? Bloggers out there know how wrenching it can be to string together thoughts, pour out your feelings, and try to synthesize information into a cohesive piece – and then we fling it out into the blogosphere like so much spaghetti on a wall and wonder whether anyone picks it up.
But then something happened that I felt worth sharing.
The last 7 months have been so busy – on the verge of overwhelming. There hasn’t been much time for freestyle writing. The garden has grown exponentially – many of our shrubs are now fruiting size, and the bees ensured a mind-boggling abundant harvest of all kinds of fun things to try: aronia berries, autumn olives, beach plums, seaberries, medlars, goumi, goji, Nanking cherries, Cornelian cherries, highbush cranberries, honeyberries – in addition to all kinds of traditional berries – raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, loganberries, marionberries, boysenberries, jostaberries, currants, gooseberries … I have to wonder why there was this disconnect between the exuberance of planting all this stuff and all the work I was creating for myself in the process. I mean, we haven’t even started on the veggie garden, not to mention all the different herbs & flowers and collecting seeds – which, when you have bees, you get lots and lots of really good seeds if you let the plants fulfill their mission in life. Throw in a fair amount of scything, mulching, watering, weeding/chopping & dropping – and the business stuff, like marketing, doing an “event,” harvesting & selling the garlic – and then the family stuff – summer trips and campouts – birthdays – visitors – sickness & health – life-changing decisions… all the normal stuff. whew. I am tired just reading this list.
Oh, but that’s not all.
Last but not least, I signed up for an online course to earn my Permaculture Design Certificate, which involved reading Bill Mollison’s nearly 600-page volume: “Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual,” watching a bunch of video lectures, completing a hands-on project, and taking a test. I had a full year to do it – how hard could it be?
This is one of those things you do to yourself when you are already inundated with stuff to do and you subconsciously sabotage your life by piling on One. More. Gargantuan. Thing.
Those are all great excuses for not blogging. But truth be told, there was also this twinge of doubt. What is the purpose of this blog, anyway? It certainly hasn’t been a get-rich scheme, but I am more attuned to intangible wealth, anyway, which is what people say who aren’t making squat off their business endeavors. As far as hobbies go, I have lots of crafty stuff I’d like to have time for. I suppose it has established a certain credibility, but I am not sure that is what I am seeking at this point. The big question: Does it help anybody? And if someone is going to spend their most valuable possession – their time – reading my blog, I most certainly should give them something worth reading. Course, people waste time every day – witness the popularity of many TV shows – so really, I don’t need to solve people’s problems for them – I can just be entertaining. Hmmm. Pressure still building. But hey, a blog doesn’t have to be for others, right? It can be just for yourself – and it’s a bonus if other people enjoy it. It is a way of recording a journey. Of capturing whatever it is that seems worth noting (and if someone reads it, sharing).
And so – we return to my amazing morning, which started like any other cold morning in early December, with a cup of coffee. I was feeling such a huge relief because I had finally – and I do mean FINALLY – finished my Permaculture Design project and had uploaded everything to the website (a quick caveat: it’s by no means really finished. There are still lots of details to fill in – more projects to do – more to write about. But I had finished what I had hoped met project specifications) – and then there was the test on an encyclopedia of information – and at my age, my only thought was, “A freakin’ test? Really? I am getting to old for this sh*t!”
But now it was done. Out of my hands. I awaited results. Approval of all my hard work. Someone who could authoritively say I had achieved a certain level of expertise.
I stepped outside to breathe the morning air. The weather was warming and the snow quickly disappearing, but the grass was still crunchy beneath my boots. I thought I might go and check to see whether the hoop house was still standing. And then there – on the path to the barn by the pond garden – something very weird: a helium balloon bouncing a couple of inches off the ground. In neon colors it proclaimed, “IT’S YOUR DAY!”
Seriously, my first thought was, “So…this is where wayward helium balloons go to die.” We always wonder when they get away from us, don’t we? But then I realized how unusual it was for this to land in our rural backyard – and right in my path, no less. All neighbors are separated by fields and roadways. I took it to my husband, out working in his office. “This must be for you,” I said. I knew he could use a cheerful boost to alleviate the drudgery, not that a balloon was going to hack it.
And then – get this – later that day, I got an email: “Congratulations!” it said. “You have successfully passed the examination and completed the Online Permaculture Design Course. Your Certificate is attached.”
Wow. It really WAS my day! (I had better take back that balloon!) I was ecstatic. As in, jumping-up-&-down, texting-my-family, posting-on-Facebook ecstatic. Over a year of reading, studying, planning, designing, trying to learn different software applications for drawing and mapping, planting, writing, uploading files to a website, a lot of time standing out in our field, just observing, and so many late nights pulling it all together, and all the memories of why I really don’t want to go back to school – I just want to learn on my own …
now completed ….
The relief was HUGE.
I grabbed the dog, who had been feeling rather neglected of late, and we went for a walk to the river. It was sunny and bright, and after our recent cold snap and an unusual snowfall in late November, the sun felt SO good on our faces. We were both smiling. In a nearby tree, a dozen or so Stellar jays were squawking loudly. “Go Save the Planet!” they said.
And now the fun work begins.
So yes, I have something to blog about again. Hopefully someone will find it useful or at least entertaining. I will be creating a few extra pages, too. And if you want to take a look at my project, feel free to take the Permaculture Journey link.
Thanks for reading!