This is the World Organic News for the week ending the 29th of July 2019.
Jon Moore reporting!
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
This week I’m in a pensive mood. I’ve just seen a TV show set on the Monaro, the high plains surrounding the Snowy Mountains of NSW. I lived there for seven years, both my children were born there and I really honed my smallholder skills during those years.
Previously and following those years I lived in the upper Blue Mountains above 1000 metres. (3300ft in the old money).
So many experiments in small scale production. So many apparent fails but actually lessons and course corrections.
The constant through those years was the seasonality of the locales. They all had four definite seasons.
Marriages came and went and I moved down 700 metres to the lower mountains. More lessons, no frosts, bugs up to my eyeballs that just didn’t survive the colder winters.
As you probably know, if you’ve been listening for any length of time, Mrs World Organic News and I lived in Ireland last year. Different soils, different rain, the first drought in 40 years and a discovery of the terroir of milk, raw milk, pig meat, potatoes and apples.
We reside in the Ireland-like region of North West Tasmania. In the roaring forties, with lots of rain through winter. As green as Ireland but a different green. I find it difficult to describe but it is different. Just as many rainbows as I recall from our Celtic sojourn and lingering sense of something missed to be checked out later.
No foxes in Tasmania but we do have snakes. Only three species will kill you on this little island state south of the mainland but the same antivenin so we don’t have to bring the dead snake with us to the hospital. Win/win.
What’s got me so pensive is the granite and the brown pastures of a Monaro winter. It could be brutal, beautifully brutal. Three inch thick frosts with a stillness the the old masters would have cherished. That and the birth of my children, put the Monaro in a special place, deep within my heart.
As I look for narratives, explanations and, and,,,, and I’m not sure exactly what else. The feeling of connection to soil, to the rhythms of the year, to the obvious changes I have seen and those described by the elders of the places I have lived. Both here in Tassie and the Upper Mountains, winters were once colder. It still gets cold in these places but not two foot of snow on the ground cold. Apparently this used to occur in the Upper Blue Mountains during the 1930s and just up the road from where we are now twenty years ago.
All is change.
Perhaps underpinning these feelings has been the loss of two souls this month. One a good friend, sick for some time but unexpected nonetheless. The second a larger landholder from our part of the Monaro. We used to engage in idle chit chat about rainfall, the weather, stock and the other usual things in a rural setting. His death notice popped up on my Facebook feed as a post from the local newspaper. Twenty five odd years since I’d thought of him yet the shock was visceral. He never wanted to farm, he’s loved the army, was looking to stay on after National Service when his father became ill. It was his responsibility, as eldest son, to take the reins and so he did.
We all make choices. I wonder about some I’ve made. No bitterness, occasionally unresolved grief raises its head but on the whole I at peace.
The soil, the pasture under foot, the growth of stock, the cycles of the years, no two alike, all on the same basic pattern.
I see the patterns blurring. Late Spring frosts, warmish winters, horrifically hot summers. The new normal? As we all sleepwalk towards Armageddon. Well not all of us but way too many are sleep walking to that destination.
The petty concerns of everyday life. Being on time for appointments, meeting deadlines, eating, and a thousand and one other things pick away at our ability to just stop and feel the powerful forces of the seasons. To actually celebrate the cold, embrace the winds and dance in the rain, even if it’s only in front of the pigs.
I stood outside last night, our first relatively cloud free sky in a little while and just stared at the stars. The enormity of existence did not make me feel small but rather, interconnected. Feet on the soil, head in the heavens.
I think we all need to get our hands and feet onto and into the soil where ever we live. Celebrate the wonder that is that thin crust of biology, chemistry and physics that keeps all of us, the entire land based biome, alive and well.
Find a way for you to grow something, or better yet find a way for you to watch something grow. Even if it’s a pot plant. I understand how privileged I am to live out of town, to be able to see the brightness of a starry night, to see more clearly the interconnections between all of life. But it is possible everywhere. Even if you look with your mind’s eye and your imagination.
So my request is that we all look for, see and explore the interconnectivity of life. We are all in this together people. Let’s find a way to make this little rock in space work.
And on that note I’ll draw this episode to a conclusion.
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
And if your interested in attending our online conference: RegenEarth 2019: Living Soils there are links in the show notes.
Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week.
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