Permaculture becomes really interesting if we become minimalistic about it. It is similar to the artist drawing the perfect line or a designer having invented something so simple yet practical. It is hitting a jackpot, and everything feels so perfect. One of my own favorites would be to put a spade in the ground and to wait for the reaction of the surrounding ecosystem. These minimalist acts may sound trivial, but they are an essential part of the permaculture playfulness and artistry.
The first level of this art comes with the better understanding of nature and how we can live life more beautifully. Often art is a push and pull between opposing forces, and beauty will be generated when both sides are pulling with an equal force. This would generate a balanced situation, which will be energy sensitive. The wilderness area is where the balance of forces takes place. Beauty is being said to be in the eye of the beholder and that is what exactly is meant here. We all see nature as artistic, with all its complexity and seemingly chaos. In nature a lot of senses are being stimulated (a stimulation which often points to the life forces at work). The same life force powers our creativity—the creativity to be alert and aware, and of course to build things with utmost beauty.
A more sensitive level of this art emerges when something has been crafted with an intense thought in mind or with great emotional sensitivity. Animals and people are capable of pulling this off. With an eye for detail, art will be further defined, and this will get even more defined when time is of no issue to the artist. In and around our home we craft beautiful things (living and non-living), that will reflect our understanding of nature and translate this into our sphere of community and political connectivity.
In between the level of plain awareness for nature and the level where great emotions are present when observing nature are different gradations and variations of applying art or the balance of energy into our lives (all of these matter). Once we apply the level of sensitivity within the things we do and say, our surrounding environment will start to change. Putting an eye for detail first is highly regarded when striving to get the most out of your permaculture project. We scratch the surface, we prickle nature’s energies, and yet we harvest great things, and get into the process of abundant, life-giving food. That will become what I would call a rewarding trade off (generating beauty while getting food as a surplus component).
When I started planting in and around the little off-grid house I built in Metro Manila, I wanted to use all the elements that I could find onsite. All stones and sand went into building a riprap with matching terraces that now hold my front garden. I put in discarded materials like an old toilet bowl and planted horse raddish and soursop in it. On the edge I planted range banana variant, and the fence I splattered with a giant bitsuelas bean. By just arranging and rearranging existing materials I was able to craft some great looking garden. Also, by adding some key plants and elements that same garden became a treasure beyond compare. Little expenses, yet great rewards!
Featured image by Cholita Dantes
Photos by Cholita Dantes and Yohann Salazar