A Bit about Myself and Forest Farming
In my life I have been many things. I have tried to do them all with fervor and dignity. Even when it was that I was essentially a lazy hobo, I did it such that I could try to produce something of excellence. My ability to ever achieve excellence I do not know. At times it dawns on me that I already have, and at other times I can remember the sensation of having done nothing, not even write one poem in a single day.
As it turns out, at this current juncture in my life, I often long for the irresponsibility, the outright serenity… the crickets. The lack of knowledge that almost no matter what I do, I am of burden to the world. And please make no mistake, to a single person, all of you, I believe that everyone who reads this will share in my burden. Perhaps this is original sin. The knowledge, especially in the modern day, circa 2000’s and after, and prior, that we as a people can almost not live anymore in a way which promotes the planetary welfare. Our very lives are subsidized by the earth in such a way that can not be sustained.
Can we live in a way that promotes planetary welfare?
We have become chaste and enslaved to the micro manage of the LCD screen, pharmaceuticals, and all other such nonsense like electric lighting, automobiles, heating and cooling etc which we believe we must have to live. The overall numbing of ourselves for the purpose of comfort and convenience. I feel these things thoroughly, and yet can remember a time when I lived day to day, meal to meal, and function to function without thought for most else except the universe. I remember sleeping at 10,000 feet in the dead of winter. I love the cold, it makes me feel alive, but then why do I feel it so little?
I have taught myself nearly everything that interests me, at least thus far, and have grown to feel burdened not only by the things that I own, but the things that I know and love to do. Thus is the danger of putting real effort into your work, and not some arbitrary offering to remain part of economy so that you won't be thrust out from it into the cold without glitz or gadgetry. I am not talking about the forced labor of our society, but the labor of love we all have somewhere. When you put an enormous amount of effort into something where the results may be invisble for any length of time, you run the risk of burnout.
Enslaved by the burdens of our society
I speak of things that are of true value. These things gather me and make me perform, but always stand tall on my path, looming like dead tree branches over trails. Back when I was a backpacker I was a backpacker, and authenticator nonetheless but a backpacker. I truly believed and still do that the only viable alternative to thorough sustainability or even regenerative living, is in a sense backpacking. A hobo is virtually the only person that bears no impact in the first world, unless you should apply the extraordinary effort to become sustainable.Yet it should be understood that it is not necessarily extraordinary effort to maintain the world in a placid way. It has become that way due to our human folly.
Through our destruction of the small farm we have taken out almost all hope that the earth can ever be managed in a successful way. A farm is not a farm is not a farm; a farm can be many things, it can be Eden or it can be Hell. The farms of old, already had systems in place that led to much more ease than there is now when those systems need to be relearned and reintroduced. We are more like pioneers now than an advanced society. A plant or an animal, like a person can grow in an atmosphere of love or fear. The usurpation of farming by nation sized corporations leads surely and steadily down a path where all that is good and holy about life, is turned into only a mere cash endeavor. When you analyze the changes that have occurred due to the institutionalization of the farm you find it has caused nearly insurmountable problems.
Never Waver in Study
I thought long and hard when I switched from backpacker to hermit. I prayed for myself and the world in some language you probably don’t know, (I don’t know either) and I studied art. I spent days if not weeks or longer only spending time with my dog Japhy. I never wavered in study despite having left college, but I studied like a philosopher or artist. I copied the masters like Dickinson, Alekhine, Capablanca, Cobain, and Kerouac. I copied styles, morphed my own and followed my own path, for freedom and fun.
The ways in which I got to where I am now strike me for they almost never veered, but I’m sure your way hasn’t either. We are all exactly who we are. The past is always clad but the future is always what you make it. When I was backpacking I had a sizeable amount of stash and remember speaking with a man at a hostel. A sizeable man living in a sizeable tent outside the hostel. He was of the Christian sort, and I remember telling him about how the stash had clouded my mind and made me veer from my path. He didn’t care much about all that but he told me, and it stuck, that you can’t veer from the path. Maybe you can forever leave the path you are on, but then that is not your path, now is it, and where you pick up the next path is surely at the end of your old path.
When you spend a lot of time in the woods, or in the isolation of a country house in a place you’ve never been, with no roommates but your dog, you have time to think. Many things I thought back then are dreams today, or vice versa, and frankly I don’t know which gave rise to which, but like a wink of deja vu I have come to be reassured by these sensations.
Real Life is the Finer Pleasures of Water and Food
I spent another long while working on the road with a shovel, and another long while at university. I became a philosopher with both the degree and the shovel. As I went I saw more and more people dividing, driving at something but just as surely dividing. Mostly for LCD screens or politics, some with religion, science, or medicine. I watched people hope the world would change, others say it was absolutely doomed, and I remembered the true pleasure of simple things that most people simply don’t have a conception of. If you have never spent days in the woods, or traveling light through hostile territory, unknown or lost and without first world conveniences, you probably don’t have any idea of the finer pleasures. The finer pleasures are not expensive, they are work and rest, they are a warm shower and dry bed, food and water. These are the things humans are meant to appreciate, and when the finer pleasures are understood life turns back into what life is.
And so if I come off as flippant to you, about some demand or such made by people, for politicians to make the world a better place, it is probably coming from this thought: that people will always refuse to be fulfilled when they feel apart from nature. When happiness is bound to something other than the day to day needs it becomes a force to destroy the earth and the self. To demand something from someone else and fail to make the change yourself is an unquestionable form of dangerous hypocrisy.
Over the years as I slowly settled down after being a towny of the hippy sort in one of the more insane towns USA. During a brief period when stoop sitting meant you would actually meet the next Buddha or Kerouac. When I paid my way to the universe with poems and frets. And the universe winked at me and gave me a temporary abundance of friends, teachers, parties, and beauty. I lived life to the fullest and managed to be there for everyone who asked.
I found some land and began farming in a slapstick way. I would move sticks for the ease of walking in a pine forest, and mostly just look at the life around me. I shot animals with a camera instead of a crossbow. No move was wasted if every move was, and I decided to become fluent in the ways of truly sustainable land management. Permaculture is the sort of all encompassing term that describes the fastest way to learn the methods by which a small land owner may turn their land into productive land that removes the impact of the occupant. It is a sort of conglomerate of all sorts of more specific kinds of agriculture. Mostly it is a design system which uses those methods and puts them in patterns to increase the viability and ease of management.
Using my background as an advanced level shoveler, only inferior to the lifers of similar stature or better, I was able to begin putting in large numbers of plants in short periods of time and then hope the rain would keep me from lugging water hundreds of feet. I largely let the plants fend for themselves to decipher from the beginning which plants were hearty enough to live on my land.
Woodland gardening is not like traditional farming where you can step up on a tractor and plant some neat rows for hours on end without a thought. Forest farming is messy and confusing. From the very beginning there are decisions that must be made that completely alter the result. For instance, if you were to get all fired up about perennial agriculture on day 3 and fire up a chainsaw, you may cut down a prize oak and leave it there to rot. Not only forsaking its dollar value, but the truer value, that which it is good for, Shiitake or Lumber.
Observation is the Mantra of Permaculture
We need to look at the things we consume in the world and wonder how they were derived. You like nice furniture, don’t you? And yet you probably would (well not you, that other person over there) blindly sign some petition which tries to ban some corporation from logging some area you have never been. Unless we are willing to use our own land for something, and apply the effort to fill our needs, are we not damaging the earth willy nilly so that some other land is damaged by consuming almost anything? This is irresponsible. You will hear that it is economy, but that is a cop out, and an abuse by the status quo to make you believe something which isn’t true. The economy is not a being it is a human system, created supposedly for the benefit of human beings. True capitalism needs to be part of a well nourished society if it is to function. Without a proper grounding capitalism is no better than communism, as it fails to make people responsible. It indoctrinates and forces them into a product path. The true right of the human is to live grounded on earth.
Nowadays it is that the vines have overgrown the farm. The pioneers are back and the Aspens, Pines, and Maples are dominating the lands. They have become forests and many once productive places are now not aiding humans, except by beauty. Through not aiding humans these places therefore detract from the world by humans obtaining their needs anyway from elsewhere. And so you are all left with a dilemma. How does a person force the re-naturalisation the re-humanization or the Accord with Nature. The ability to move forward on this planet is not crop sensors and fancy new GMO soybeans, it is rejoining the earth.
It is your responsibility. It is not anyone elses. You have the first world at your finger tips. You need to convince yourself that you can become a neutral force on the earth, even a positive force, and your responsibility to discuss it with others. Previous failure is not an excuse for lack of future effort. We must take back land, take back farms, take to our feet, and build better world.
So here I am, and I sit here after being webmaster for the second or third period of my life. Engaging in writing for the fourth and fifth period of my life, and telling you about farming and the real internal revolution that needs to occur for humanity to survive. You may get to the Accord with Nature in almost any way, but when you leave the Accord with Nature, you are guaranteed to have made reality a better one forever. I may have been a lot of things, but they are almost entirely focused on the love and beauty of nature, but a forest farmer is the most important -- and if I can convince you to do the same that is just as important.
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