Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sit spot

Reading through my latest issue of Permaculture Activist I was inspired by an article highlighting a great blog.  The blog is written by a homesteader named Amanda.  She describes her family's journey toward a more sustainable life in the Mattole River Watershed in coastal northern California.  Her description of the site of her yurt and her homestead reminded me of our camping trips up the coast of California into Oregon.  One year in the misty, cool of late autumn we spent a few days of our trip camping along the Russian River.  It was one of the most magical spots we found, our son was young and the world along the river was alive with animals and the season's change.  We talked until late around the camp fire of our dreams of living closer to the land.  We wanted to find a spot we could call home, put down roots, grow our own food and use our hands to do the work.  We wanted to have that feeling of the earth close to our body, breathing in the soil, feeling the power against our chest, sleeping in the embrace of the earth, for better or worse, every day not just when we were on holiday.

Amanda inspired me to find a sit spot.  A sit spot is a place to go everyday to connect with the natural world around you, to feel the world instead of just see it with your eyes.  She learned about it from a self-guided curriculum called Kamana, a path to becoming a naturalist.  It is a home study wilderness awareness program.   So, your sit spot is a place to go to sit in awareness with the world, to learn.  I imagined that it could remotely reflect the habits of early woman.  Living closer to the natural world.  I could picture her leaving her shelter to greet the day, starting a fire to cook or gather food for her family.  Entering the world around her from the same portal every day.  She would have an intimate knowledge of her landscape in various seasons and her home in various states of evolution.  She would know the position of the sun at sunrise, the life cycle of the trees in every season, the animals that pass her home in the night, and the smell of the air in the sunlight.  These things she would have learned early in her life and would not be taken for granted.  She would know how to live in the world, how to survive and to be of the world.  I realize that we have forgotten more than we have learned over these many thousands of years...our medicine is better but I think it is just keeping up with the toxins we are dumping into our habitat.

I walk in the world every day but I think it would be a deeper practice for me to sit in the same spot, find my breath, open my eyes wider and feel the world with my heart - in silence.  I know just the place.  Namaste.

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