"The grass is not greener on the other side, it's green where you water it."
After my visit to the island, I went to the garden. I wanted to learn permaculture techniques, so I found a teacher and a garden to work in. The garden was huge and the teacher was a contemporary painter and a great gardener who has devoted 20 years of her life to make the garden what it is today. A quiet woman, she knew all the plants and gladly shared her knowledge with me. We have to be greatful for our teachers, and I thank this woman for being my permaculture teacher and friend, an amasing artist who I am glad and extremely lucky to have shared some time with. Her philosphy is simple and best: Art is life, Life is art. She knew I needed to put my hands in the earth, I wanted to be outside the whole day and make the body move. I wanted to hang out with the birds and drink fresh water. I needed to do Gaia Yoga, so in the garden I was...
The garden was an art garden. It had a green house and a huge outside garden, where I could observe the diferences of plants growth. 3 times faster in the green house than outside, the green house like a natural tropical area. Sun and water, sun and water is magic.
The veggies, the sculptures, the fruits and the photos all were art. The potatoes, zuchinis, tomatoes, needed to be planted then harvested. The fruits became jams, the extra vegetables were made into conserve in order to keep us during the winter, and the frogs were dancing and chanting in the pond. Every day we ate freshly cut salad, alive foods, good for the body mind. There was also the wild plants to collect for the salad, the eatable flowers adding reds, oranges, yellows and purples to the greens. On the table, every meal had home made bread filled with nuts and dried fruits. All is beautiful in the garden, each day a wonder at nature's creativity.
In the garden I had many friends. When we weren't busy taking care of the garden, we sat around and ate together. We liked to sit by the fire at night. Under the moon and stars, we told stories. Everyone came with a story of their own. Some had found answers, that was the only answer, and who ever disagreed was wrong. Others had no answers, thinking it's all just stories: all is art, they said, let it be art. And some just sat, listening. The end of the evening, the music started, each bringing out their instrument, and we played till morning came. When I was not in the garden, I hanged out in the aquarium, with a buddha and his arura flowers, I watched mandalas, doodles bloomed on canvases. When there was nothing to do in the garden, there was always something to do. Fix the roof, make a solar plants dryer, fix the compost box, sit and read a book, cut stone for the new steps. Each night, I fell asleep with the birds and woke up with the birds. This was happy times: best and simple.
The permaculture techniques were very simple: do as little as possible, let nature do it, cause she knows best. Permaculture is: simple and best. It was about studying nature in quiet observation. It was a deep meditation over which way the wind blows, over the quality of the earth, about the worms. Worms are your friend in the garden, love the worms the earth whispered. Look up at the moon, work with her. Get a moon plantation calendar, roots, leaves, seeds or cuttings, each plant has a life cycle of it's own.
No walking on the growing ground, no stepping and turning the earth into a rock through which water could not flow nor animals do their job. Let it breath, let it be, Om on.
Mulch: lots of organic mulch. Collect all your cut grass, the branches, the leaves, they will decompose and feed again the earth. The organic coumpound will also keep your soil nice and moist, avoiding fast water evaporation. Mulch, lots of mulch does a garden good. Collect the cardboards, they will be used also. For exemple they can be put straight on a patch of land for futur growth. The cardboard will keep the bad weeds from popping up too much. It will decompose, becoming one with the earth, nothing is new, nothing disapears, it's a long recycle story. Art, earth, heart, better take care of it.
Recycle everything, all the peels of vegetables, all the food. Don't throw any organic coumpounds away. They will become your richest ally in the garden, they will be the food, the compost.
Some plants liked each other, and it was good to plant some next to each other, they were like good friends, nurturing and feeding each other, they helped each other to grow. Mix the flowers, the vegetables, mix it all together, this is the way nature had intended it. Remember: simple and best. Alterate your cultures, each year a diferent plant on the soil, so the soil keeps rich and fertile. This will not only make your garden happy, but this will also give joy to your eyes, which in turn will bring joy to your body mind. Mulch, cardboard, freshly cut grass, compost, horse or cows feeces, finely chopped wood, leaves, all will be used to create the perfect soil.
Water meditation. Water and sun together become life. We're mostly a blob of water, the plants remind us of that. Blobidiblob. And it's time to watch the plants grow. The flowers turn into fruits, the first tomatoes arrive on the plate. Eatable art it is, the best type of art. A long time ago, by the Ganges river in India, I spent a day with a baba living alone in a room and a few posters of his favorite gods on the walls. The whole afternoon, I made chapatis, perfectly round they had to be under the old man's eyes. Silence of the baba, the river flowing, I made one chapati after the next. Food for the moon. 20 guests were coming, that was serious chapati time. Round, each, perfect, make it. "Food is the first art" says Baba. Round, each perfect, chapati make. Food is art, art which we can share with loved ones, atma kushi some say after a good meal: soul is happy.
"The intimacy of dreams does not exclude sharing"
And the soul was happy in the garden. Surrounded by friends, stories, paintings, plants, frogs and birds, it was the top of the world. How far could civilisation go? That was it: a beautiful environment, loving folks around, art in the plates and in the studios, life can't get much higher than this. But the garden is there, it is always there for those that want it, there somewhere, we just have to go to it when we want to do Gaia yoga. Then one day, it was time to go. Next project was calling. A new journey was coming, I had a rendez vous with the unknown. I wanted to visit other gardens to share garden stories with other gardeners and Gaia yoga lovers. I had some friends to visit, books to read and new pages to write. So, I put my painting brushes and colors in my bag, my ozark harp, a couple clothes, and of I went, direction the mountains. With love always...