Killing the goose that laid the golden egg,

‘Killing the goose that laid the golden egg,’

 

Toscana is exquisitely beautiful. Everyone seems to agree on the point, whether Italians, or the hoards of foreigners who swarm the gorgeous landscapes, gushing their praises, falling in love with the place. Many stay, like me.

 

Little wonder then, that Tuscons are so proud of their land. So why is it being trashed? ‘Killing the goose that laid the golden egg,’ is an English expression that aptly describes the situation. As I move around Tuscony, my heart cries out in pain to see so much environmental vandalism taking place, generally by the same proud Tuscons. Continue reading Killing the goose that laid the golden egg,

Forest Gardens

 

We all understand – I hope – that Permaculture is NOT a list of techniques or technologies, but rather a design system based on the meticulous observation of many systems (both human and ‘non-human’ natural systems), resulting in a series of principles which can be recognized and applied in all sustainable systems.

 

We use these as the basis for successful designing, whether of ‘whole systems’, or of sub-systems within whole systems. It includes the design and implementation of highly productive and long-term sustainable Forest Gardens. Continue reading Forest Gardens

FIRST EVENING IN INDIA

First evening in India

 

How could I forget my first evening in India. No, even my first moments in that extraordinary land, since it is not a single country, but a mélange of thousands of shades and colours, cultures and sub-cultures, all loosely united – and often not – as a single entity.

 

Let me make it clear from the start; I didn’t travel to India on any pilgrimage or search for Truth or Enlightenment, or any of those old clichés that are trotted out as reasons for visiting the sacred and profane India. Almost the contrary, Continue reading FIRST EVENING IN INDIA

It’s better’n an orgasm

It’s better’n an orgasm.

 

It’s been 43 years now, that yoga has been a fundamental ritual of my every day. Almost literally. It has probably been a significant factor in survival many times over, when I lingered on that finest of lines between life and death. And besides that, yoga has been a centering and calming half an hour of each day. What a blessing.

 

My initiation was far from conventional though. It was Murray. Continue reading It’s better’n an orgasm

Love Visa

 

How could I not fall in love with Italy? Almost from the start, she seduced me as no other country has done before. In the spirit of love.

 

We had left early morning from home in south Germany, wanting to make the most of a beautiful day, and to arrive in Italy with still some hours of sunshine to enjoy before nightfall. There were four of us in the car; three German women including my girlfriend, and myself, Australian wanderer.

, Continue reading Love Visa

A Red Kamala on Arunachala

A Red Kamala on Arunachala

 

When I first arrived at Arunachala back in 1989, the mountain was little more than a pile of rock, with very few spindly trees breaking up the rockscape. Little wonder, since the mountain was deliberately burnt ever year, partly as a homage to Lord Siva (the mountain represents Siva, in form of Fire!), and partly to ensure that the dominant grasscover that managed to survive, would be burnt to an even stubble. It was harvested as thatching material for the homes of those wealthy enough to afford the high quality thatch it provided; burning the stubble also furnished a little nutrient as potash on the otherwise barren slopes. The government had attempted reforestation years before, but had given up long ago, discouraged by the miserable success rate.

Continue reading A Red Kamala on Arunachala

Clothing the naked mountain – the rainmaker

 

Before the forest grew, in the early few years of my life by the sacred mountain Arunachala in south India, some mornings I would look up at the peak shrouded in cloud, and optimistically hope that rain might fall. Invariably though, I was disappointed.

 

The reasons are obvious, now that I’ve watched the mountain for so long. Invariably, the prospect of rain would evaporate – literally – as soon as the sun rose and beat down on the dry rocky slopes. The temperature for seven months of the year averages a daily maximum of over 35 degrees, and often much more. Hot – parched and dry at first, in March, building up to stifling and humid pre-monsoon, then simply sauna-like until the relative respite once the monsoon has passed by December. Comparatively mild for the next three months until the build-up process begins again. Continue reading Clothing the naked mountain – the rainmaker

EPIPHANY

 

Day merging softly into the cool winter’s night. Soft blue shadows deepening to black with the early evening light. A perfect sunny day proceeding into a perfect nocturnal mirror, stars shining brighter by the minute as the last light fades behind me to the west.

Gently tired after a long day of work around my land, showered and clean, the vista from my verandah overwhelmed me. Forest, and the dipping and rising of the eastern horizon, while the escarpment of the caldera to the north loomed over the ancient rainforest now inky black in shadow. Not an artificial light to be seen, as it’s always been from here; as it will always be, hopefully. Not a mechanical noise to be heard; only the stillness of nature, now silent in one of those rare times when all the teeming life of that rich landscape seems to take a breath, as one. Continue reading EPIPHANY

NOT A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP.

We left the Bloomfield River at first light, in anticipation of a long hoof down to Cape Tribulation. First the climb up the escarpment from the River, then across the open forest plateau, before descending down into the full-on rainforest and along the track just in from the beaches to Cape Tribulation. Nearly forty kilometres, so we’d certainly need the full day.

A great day to be doing the walk, and we were sweating like pigs by the time we’d scaled the hill and were tramping across the plateau. Feeling good though, and seemed to be doing well time-wise. Continue reading NOT A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP.

NERAKUTTASWAMY – THE LITTLE JACKAL

 

He wasn’t always a nice man, living up to his name. A cantankerous coot, as someone described him. In the one aspect, he would growl and curse, and lament his travails, and in another, he was soft and sympathetic, caring and accepting. More a pussycat than a wild dog.

He had his reasons, and motives for grumbling too. Nerikuttaswami wanted a green holy mountain, and the world seemed against him succeeding. He planted and planted, and planted. Good for him, for having a try. Even if they were all eucalyptus; he did his planting in the seventies and eighties, before awareness of appropriate species gained root. I suppose that he just thought a green, forested mountain was better than a brown pile of rocks and clumpy grasses. Very few on his seedlings survived. Continue reading NERAKUTTASWAMY – THE LITTLE JACKAL