I made a promise to myself that I would aim to get outdoors at least once a week upon arriving back in the Bay. Thus far, I have to say, I’m feeling pretty good about the follow through I’ve had with my resolutions of late. Next up: getting back into the yoga swing of things next week! Yoga to the People, here I come!
Besides some groovy photos, I wanted to take this moment to share what I so often need to remind myself: getting outside is so refreshing!
In permaculture, there is a system of analysis called a “zone analysis”, where one breaks down a design (for a home, neighborhood, city, etc.) into zones based on the activity flows of people. In the case of a house, zone zero is the home itself, zone one is the area immediately around the home, zone two, the next closest, zone three the next, and so on. The whole point is to design a property or community to maximize the flow of energy in a space, so that people are exerting less energy the further away from the places they’d natural hang out in/move through. Where you grow your herbs, which you theoretically are going to be harvesting for most meals, is a great example. Bill Mollison is reputed to have said that if you get the bottom of your robe wet from the dew when walking to fetch your herbs in the morning, then your herbs are too far away. Instead they should be planted right outside the kitchen window, where they can be reached with ease.
The whole point of mentioning this is that, in permaculture design, zone five is always designated as a wilderness zone, and each zone between represents a gradual increase in human interaction/influence. There is always a portion of the design that is left aside for nature to be nature – the idea being both that this aids in establishing a healthy human ecosystem in zones one through four (almost like creating a natural bubble around a community where the larger flows and patterns of nature can resume), but also that there is inherent value in wilderness for wilderness’ sake.
Of all the books I read in college, one that sticks out in my memory quite clearly is Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac“, which, among other things, details the loss of wilderness in America. What struck me most was the fact that Aldo Leopold wrote this book in 1949. Now granted, one might say that the environmental movement has picked up since then, but its astounding to think of the vast tracts of wilderness that have been lost since he wrote the book and began highlighting these problems sixty years ago, and how this has impacted the smaller pockets of natural access in towns and cities – the creeks, parks, meadows and swamps that used to be teeming with life.
Of course, Aldo Leopold isn’t the only one who caught on to these things, especially early on, but there was something about this book in particular – I remember thinking at the time that I wanted to save it, and give it my children when the time came I had my own family. The topics it covered, and the storybook like way his arguments unfolded – I felt they might be accessible to a generation whose wilderness may be even more threatened than ours today.
This is all to say that being outside, taking a romp through the snow in Tahoe National Forest, was an awfully nice way to be ushered back into Bay area living. I found myself closing my eyes, and trying to let my other senses take hold. The crunch of the compacting snow, the sun that warmed our faces and dried our lips, the cold shock of the air breathed in through the nose – gosh, it’s so easy to miss these things and to forget how easy it is to find them, especially close by to the Bay area.
I’ve been keeping my reading strong, and at the recommendation of my aunt, am 100 pages deep into Three Cups of Tea. If anything, it too is restoring my faith that following one’s heart and sticking to it will take us to where we need to go (even if it means sleeping in your car for a bit). One thing’s for sure: There are certainly worse places to car camp than California.
So much to be done, and so much more to give.
I’ll start with my love,
P.S. This song came on today as we were eating at a place called Ikedas on the way back from the forest.
I love this song. I had no idea that these dudes were so legit. Hall and Oates came on shortly thereafter. Needless to say, it was a great meal.