To Strengthen the Heart of a Place

A Sense of Place.

We recently purchased a piece of land. I shudder to write that, because how can anyone own a piece of land? To my witch’s sensabilities, this seems like rankest heresy.

However, by paying Babylon for it, as far as Babylon is concerned, we have a say in how it’s used. In Texas – a strange blend of Fundamentalist paradigm and mind-your-own-business — that can be a really big say.

So I’ve been spending some time this past year gently reaching out to the Spirits of Place, and in general being ignored.

Until just the other day.

Sitting quietly, thinking about eventual practical gardens and the possibility of a toolshed cum Woo Shack, I got a ping.

Filtered through my own percenptions, while trying my best to be true to the communication, it came like this:

To Strengthen the Heart of a Place:

Local is important because man‘s puny boundaries don’t mean a thing to the Land. In one sense it’s all one Land. In terms of a specific Place, though, the boundaries are arrived at differently. * (The impression I got is that the Land is all one big Titan-esque entity, and a Place has a Spirit of Place/Genius Loci.) A Place doesn’t care what the title says, or where the fences are. A Place has it’s own boundaries, based on other things like where the bodies of water are, what the terraine is like, and other things we aren’t privy to.

To maintain the best Heart to a Place, when you’re on it let your flows mingle with its flows. (As in permaculture flows — starting with what you take in as food, water, air, shelter, etc. and what you put out in wastes and effort.)  Bring as little onto it as you’re able, from as close as you’re able.  Local matters.  Just because it’s not from your specific address, doesn’t mean it’s not within the boundaries of the Place you reside within.

Eat from it, at least in part, every day.

Everything that must come from any distance beyond it’s borders, should be changed in some fashion by the products of the Place.  Fabric could be dyed with acorns/herbs from the Place.  Biodegradable waste should remain on it.  Take as little as possible off of it.  If something can’t be modified by bits of Place, it can’t stay — it must just visit.

Come to depend on it’s flows, and let it depend upon yours.

Buildings should incorporate as much as possible from the Place.

Plants/seeds should be grown through one cycle (if annuals) or one set of seasons (a year and a day) before they’re considered part of th Place.

Change your vocabulary to support a new mindset compatible with a your new relationship.  Say “the Land” or “this Place.”  Don’t use “my land/house, etc.  It’s shared.  It’s “ours.”

Plan your flows into at least the next season, if not some for the next generation or two.  Store a harvest and annual seeds.  Make compost that will cure for a year or two.  If you need a fence around your gardens, set the plants to they grown inside and outside of the fence.  Let the same plant/berry bush, fruit tree/ patch feed both wild and tame.  Both you and the wildlife.  Extend that idea to the public/man-made corridors like roads, so that passersby can share in yields as well.

Remember flows include things like the sun, moon and stars that shine upon the Place.  They live on the Place when they shine there.  Remember too that lines of sight are shared with neighbors.  So a private/sacred space should be shielded.

Where possible, blur the edges between indoors and out.  Moon/view windows, patios, bird decks).

Restrict where cars/fumes/strangers go.  Make such things acknowledge that they are crossing a threshold, and that the rules have changed.

Let there be cross-throughs on the Place for wildlife as much as possible.

Get a yield – give a yield.

Not connecting your flows to a Place makes you a visitor.  You have less duties and responsibilities, but less rights, too.  Like the difference between dating and marrying.  Between acquaintance and friend.

Be trustworthy.  Be consistent in your attachment.  If your actions aren’t loving, trustworthy and inclusive, how can you have a relationship?  It’s holding the Land / the Place in bondage against its Will.

When you are doing all that, then take it a step further.  Think about what you can do to create your own niche within the Place that would be helpful to the whole (as a partner, not an overlord).  What can no one else on the Place currently do that you can?  This step takes your relationship to the next level.  You become more that a denizen.  You mean more to the Place.  Look at the whole of the Place, observe how it wants to be, and arrange for those desires of Place to be successful and balanced.  The flow of a Place is constant.  It’s changing by the hour, day, year, century.

When you have a need, look first to your Place, and the nearby Places to fill that need.  Where you find gaps, consider filling them by respectfully introducing new plants, habitats, etc. to the Place.  Be this food, medicine, clothing, shelter, or community.

I think I’ve been given a set of marching orders.  Thanks be to Place!


*It would be interesting to dowse or skry for such boundaries.


Filed under Crooks and Straights

2 responses to “To Strengthen the Heart of a Place

  1. This. So much of this echoes in a familiar way. I feel such a strong connection to the land we live on here, we connected with it even before we built the house and it’s only growing stronger. Still got a long way to go though, mostly because I haven’t been able to give as much as I should. But hopefully we’ll keep growing together.

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