Words from the land and plants to add to your collection...
Slow Down, Go Deeper, to Grow
I recently received an email that was just a few words. They were words that I had spoken, words that must have made an impact. It was from way back in February when I led the Water is Life workshop. I had wanted to connect the important resistance and community building work that was being done at Standing Rock with a deep sense of reverence for a basic element of life that we can inhabit every day.
I felt called to guide a meditation as part of this workshop. The purpose was to facilitate tapping into the sense of sacredness that comes from within, that is connected to our imagination and deep feeling of well being and oneness with all. So in preparation for this workshop, I studied the water in my life. Living off rain catchment means the connection runs deep within me, and is intimately tied to both survival and a sense of abundance. We have done so much work in this desert landscape to keep the water in the soil. Whenever we receive the gift of water from the sky, we rejoice, grab a shovel, and go out and flow with it.
The monsoons have hit and our land is now nearly as green as it gets. This lush clothing of the desert ground is one of the most beautiful things I have seen. I find myself gazing out on the land for hours. The wildflowers are abundant and diverse. The animal wildlife is present and visible. It's been 13 years now that we have been stewarding this land, and moments like this are deeply fulfilling. I sincerely feel that there is no greater satisfaction than experiencing an abundance for all that I have had a hand in helping along.
The meditation that I led revolved around principles that I have learned from water since beginning my off grid communion with the elements. The words recently mirrored back to me were: “Slow down, go deeper, to grow”.
I think that this meditation that I led for others worked deeper in myself than I anticipated. This year has felt slower, and deeper, with a good amount of growth. Water is so strong, so powerful, yet always takes the path of least resistance. It flows, rather than working hard. The impact it makes is a by-product of it's natural and inevitable strength. I'm learning about this in my own life.
We did not offer the Ampersand Internship program this year. Instead, we welcomed back dedicated students and embraced new folk who were called to participate as work-trade residents. The bonds that were built and strengthened really feel like a mycelial web that connects communities and transfers nutrients as needed. We didn't offer our regular series of classes this year, but we have experienced a renewed interest in private tours of our site. We have shifted away from designing programs. But this has not diminished the interest in our work. I feel more sensitive to the needs of the people who seek us out. Sometimes they are craving community, such an important element in creating a sustainable life-way. There are groups that want to see what we have done, as a humble 'mom and pop' learning center, and how we have managed to do it. And then still, there are those who seek guidance for greywater systems, gardening, wild plant identification, and building with earth. This slowing down of program design allows me to go deeper with people in the area that they want to grow. This makes me grow too.
And somehow during this warm season of slowing down, we have built the final portion of our main house and installed an earthen floor in the bathroom, with the help of so many students and volunteers. Thanks to Michelle Brown for sending me my own words which helped me acknowledge that perhaps it's not just that I've been slacking off, but maybe I'm embodying the wisdom I have learned from the water. Undoubtably, I am growing. My relationship with this land has deepened and become a constant stream of dialogue and gifts. This communion, this oneness, this dance, informs what I have to share. The earth needs us to be with her, to feel with her and think with her.
Slow down, go deeper, to grow. Thanks to the water for this wisdom. I am reaping the rewards.
Written by Amanda Bramble
Plants For Sale! Just when you thought the season was winding down, here we are with some very special plants to share. Perennial Tree Collards and a rainbow colored chile pepper for your windowsill in the winter. Contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase these plants!
These Tree Collards are really growing tall like trees in my greywater greenhouse. Hearty perennial vegetables like these are a Permaculturists dream. I have potted cuttings for sale. More info and temperature tolerances on this amazing plant here.
Shrub like, This NuMex Twilight variety of chile pepper grows to 18 inches tall, covered with peppers that start out white, turn purple, then move through yellow and orange, becoming red when fully ripe, producing a rainbow effect on the green plant. Twilight thrives in either a container or in the ground, and it is both a prolific bearer and is long-lived when protected from frost. The plants I have for sale are not yet as mature as the ones in this photo, but just starting to set fruit. Keep this indoors and harvest the peppers for summer heat in winter!