Speed Bumps, Whale Song, and Bruce Lee

Dear Sunaina,

There doesn’t have to be a street to face speed bumps. Over the last few days my mind has been occupied by various things and none of them have been “how to be more sustainable,” unfortunately. For a few days I was stuck on the mountain with mechanical problems, and now for a few I’ve been stuck off of the mountain while a mechanic replaces some broken parts.

This morning, while watching Humpback whales breach Pacific waters from the patio of my new friends, and in-town host’s, home, I was struck as I often am by the beauty and magnitude of nature, and by the good fortune that I’ve had to hit some of the speed bumps of life. We all face them, and especially when we shoulder new responsibilities. Whether it’s turning the first bit of soil to start a new garden and hitting a rock, or accidentally knocking over a pot and losing the seedling that we were so happy to have, or being stuck on a mountain with mechanical problems and having to drive down a dangerous trail in the rain because the car wont restart if it’s turned off. I don’t know that they happen for a reason, outside of the mundane, but as with most things they are opportunities of some kind.

I took advantage of the rental car that I was given and drove around various parts of the island, got familiar with the things around me, and did a little shopping. For the first time in years I went to a mall, two in fact, and found a pet shop where I could “ohh and awww” over animals, found a fabric shop where I could get mesh to make bags to catch seeds in the garden, and found a shop that sold organic/non-gmo seeds. It’s funny how the signs and lights and people can be so captivating after time away. It actually reminds me of when I step into someone’s garden for the first time, and they have a really beautiful space, I just absorb it.

Here’s a secret, and one that I probably shouldn’t admit, but I’m not a very good gardener. Animals are my thing, they are what I raise well and where my deeper love lives, but I’m learning. The speed bumps faced in this venture are numerous and sometimes frustrating, but then I let go of what I think should be and allow what is to be and all of a sudden things get better. Everyone will face speed bumps in these adventures. We’ve got to let go of expectations, appreciate and explore potentials, and then accept what can come to fruition. We don’t hold this world captive and there is no way that we can control everything around us and yet still have an organic kind of life. We can shroud ourselves in plastics and pesticides, in the hope that we’ll get what we envision, but with that comes the toxins that stifle life and damage the fruit of the future. That’s how the world got into the state it is in, economically, agriculturally, and socially.

When learning to be more sustainable it’s important to remember that we have to adapt, for the world is not made of square blocks and round holes. The blocks are rocks and the holes change with the rains, and so we’ve got to appreciate those qualities and work around, over, and through them every bit as much as we fill in the holes and chip away at the rocks in our path. Bruce Lee’s “Be Like Water” speech rings true for all aspects of life, in this writer’s humble opinion. In fact, it is the very essence of sustainable living and permaculture.

Speaking of water, I’m going to dip my head into the ocean to listen to the whales sing. With some good fortune I’ll be able to head back to the mountain this afternoon with a repaired vehicle, the sun will have the solar panels charged, and the soil, and cats, will be ready to receive me. Until next time, my dear friend.

Aloha,

Colin

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