I think I think too much about thinking. BUT IT IS SO COOL. There is this guy, Glenn Aparicio Parry, who wrote a book called ‘Original Thinking’ and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between his thoughts and Tamara’s actions. As Tamara walked us through the pastures, she spoke of a deep-rooted connection between herself and the land she was on. Like Parry suggests, Tamara (at least from what I gathered) thinks in sync with nature and integrates head, hand and heart into all she does (what up ecofeminism!!). She described having this “energy exchange with the farm,” whereby everything is interconnected and functions based on the health of all parts of the system. Tamara may not label herself or her actions as permaculty, but as an eager student it is easy to see the similarities.
Let’s get back to Perry for a second. I understand he’s not the only person who thinks along these lines, but it was the last book I read (okay maybe it was skimmed), so hear me out. Perry describes “original thinking” as thinking that is “reconnected with a deep place of origin,” essentially it is place based. Now along with this he talks about thinking in a non-linear fashion (funny thing is the way he writes about this is super boring and linear… hypocrite much?). Anyway, his bottom line is that rather than suppressing intuitive thoughts, we must act on them and encourage that visceral feeling that comes with observation and interaction with the natural world. Perry says that by practicing that sense of belonging in our thought processes, we can connect with and feel a part of nature. Now I’ll be the first person to point out the issues that come with being too absorbed by academic theory, but there are moments when you can apply theory with practice and it is like the fireworks go off and the jigsaw puzzle is complete. I felt a little like that when Tamara was touring us through the farm.
What I appreciate about permaculture is that it is a method of putting all we have learnt in environmental studies into a place-based practice. From ecological restoration to political ecology to systems theory and beyond, all of those ideas must be intimately considered when designing with the land for maximum efficiency. This application needs both theory and experience for it to work, and it all begins in our complex and beautiful minds. Not minds that have been trained to come in a box set, but minds that are wild and running on the energy found beneath our feet.
Let’s ruminate on this for a moment longer. In nature, straight lines are the chaotic ones. Why must we walk from A to B, when there are herbs to pick, cow patties to jump over, and lakes to paddle on? No doubt, there are places for linear thinking. Adam’s market garden is one example, though even then you can integrate system thinking in terms of rotating crops and phenology. A lot of energy is expelled to keep things like carrot rows in order, but there is reason to it. By reflecting nature’s own symmetry, we can embrace the complexity of all living things all while conserving energy. So why doesn’t our society encourage “original thinking”? Are we scared? Or is that we have simply been trained to think that certain way in the last couple hundred of years and need to be reminded of other options? Whatever it is, I think it is high time we begin retraining how we think! So how can we allow our thoughts to root in the dirt under our feet and eventually sprout through our ears in all its weird n weedy complexity? Hmmm. Guess we better think on it.