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2023 Mycelium #23 Spores

Bodies were moving and grooving to new sounds in a place where palm trees stand tall. The trees are out of place in the ancient landscape, the music also grown up from another spot now transplanted in this place and all the people too – all guests. We are all guests, visitors, pilgrims, wayfarers, passing through bowing to all those who have gone before, for whom this land has never been ceded. Reconciliation Week has come to a close for another year, and this is not just another year. This is the year we will make history. We will gather around ballot boxes and decide how grown up we can be.

In 1967 over 90% of voters said yes to the inclusion of the First Nations of this land, in the constitution of the land. A constitution that treated these people as flora and fauna. This wrong was set right. We took a step forward, and yet the gaps are still not closed. Reports and implementation plans exist, Reconciliation Action Plans are drawn up and are finding there way into the world.

I have been reflecting on these in the context of Reconciliation Week and the referendum. What am I being invited into, and what am I equipped to do? I often feel out of place in the landscape. I keep giving it a go.

Deep beneath the soil, spores are finding their way to the surface and spreading their tiny micro cellular reproductive power. Spores don’t need to have any biological sexual fusion, they are typically single cells able to create another set of cells. Even though they are from what are considered lower forms of life, this extraordinary ability to bring forth new life unaided by another is how I am beginning to think about the vote coming up around the Voice. Our individual act in private unaided by another can collectively bring something new to our nation.  My individual actions are spores being sent into the world, landing where they will.

I’m developing a technique to give those spores the best chance of bearing fruit. I speak to lots of older people in my work and also lots of young ones. I am setting my course in these conversations and speeches by asking people what they were up to in 1967 and if they are in the older age group I thank them for being part of the generation who made history then with the highest vote in a referendum to bring Aboriginal peoples into the Constitution. If they are younger I encourage them to step up and see if their generation can do one better than their parents, grand parents or great grandparents and vote Yes in even bigger numbers this year.  It seems to be working as a technique. I pass it on to readers as you might find it helpful as well.

In a week where I have tossed a coin at a Reconciliation Round of local football, handed out awards to recognise acts of reconciliation in the arts, sport and community services, hosted conversations about what it means to be in solidarity with First Nations, where I have remained silent, where I have spoken up and told people I am voting yes, where I have wept for wrongs and sat in solidarity to witness the impact of colonisation … I know there are spores we can send as allies and know there need to be many more if we are going to take another step forward.

I want us to be able to sway with the breeze folding it’s way around the palm trees, not as if they are in the wrong place at the right time, but instead to recognise their multi-millennial connection to the most ancient of plants in this most ancient of lands, where the oldest living culture is respected and held with such deep reverence the voice request is met with listening and the action of saying yes.

All change making is creative. I was listening to a book on creative practices this week and the writer Iris Murdoch was quoted as saying:  “Moral change comes from an attention to the world whose natural result is a decrease in egoism through an increased sense of the reality of, primarily, other people, but also other things.”  Not sure about being a spore? Paying attention is a good place to start.

This tiny fungi I saw at Riverbend Park Clarendon this week when I was there to share in the community’s Reconciliation Week activities. Also in the park are Gums that are hundreds of years old. It was a perfect setting on the first day of winter for changemaking.

2023 Mycelium #22 Circle work

In 2007 when I was CEO of Volunteering SA & NT we joined in a State program of including young people on our Board. This involved selecting two young people to be involved in our governance and all the decision-making as if they were full Board members. We chose two young women, one Aboriginal woman and one non-Aboriginal woman from a regional community. We were actively picking up the gaps of who was underrepresented in boards generally and ours specifically. It was very fruitful, and we all learnt from each other and the connections lasted. It was beautiful to watch the development and leadership growth.  

Fast forward to 2023 and the Local Government Association’s research and development fund are supporting leadership development across the State and this initiative is being led by the Council where I am Mayor. The work began long before I was Mayor, and I had the privilege of attending their Summit yesterday to make a small contribution by hosting a conversation. I was introduced by one of the young women back in 2007.  It felt like a full circle. Mycelium in the undergrowth that had meandered for years, more than a decade, and popping up its fruit not too many streets away from where the relationship had first been sown. 

The room included leaders aged 12 – 25 from city and country, regional and a few remote locations. Leaders who had learnt their craft in Youth Parliament, community led movements in climate action and waste management, political parties, educational institutions, and the arts. I didn’t hear of anyone in sporting clubs, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. It was a very inclusive space – I thought about Fruit Tingles – every colour and flavour were celebrated.  This was a long way from what inclusion looked like twenty years ago.  While the commitment was there, there was an undercurrent of the exotic to anything slightly outside the mainstream.  And there was little institutional effort to shift some of the conditions. Yesterday however there were gender neutral toilets as we as the binary ones in the building itself, there was hair coloured from the whole rainbow palette, an appreciation of sensory sensitivity built into the program, language of self-care and mental wellbeing flowing off the tongues without shame. All signs to me of systems adjusting over time to being more inclusive. There were young, elected members of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. In 2007 councils were dominated by the species: retired white male. Councils don’t look like that anymore. Our administrations and systems still have to catch up but they are on the way and the more we elect people who reflect our community the quicker this will happen. (Yet another reason why I think compulsory voting will help.)

I went home with a skip in my step for so many reasons. I felt encouraged and inspired by these leaders, I took heart from the steps my generation of leaders had taken years ago to lay down the foundations for more inclusivity. I took pleasure in reconnecting with my own journey of leadership and finding ways to identify, include and nurture others to take steps in their leadership journeys. I sunk into the knowledge and power of mycelium to connect in the dark, even when I can’t see it weaving underground, threads and leads are moving with fecundity.  

Spores burst and can spread a long way, making a magical fairy ring circle, not too different to what can unfold when we open up for seeds of inclusion to fall on fertile ground. This is how to scale empathy and impact. Feeling grateful and blessed to have got a glimpse of that harvest and the promise of more to come.

2023 Mycelium #21 Path to transformation

Discernment tools come in all shapes and sizes – a question, a pause, a weighing up of choices, an investigation, taking advice.  Slowing things down always seems to help when change is afoot. In trying to explain to a community group what rates are all about and my long-term vision to turn them from being short term fixes to long term solutions helped me this week work my way into explaining how to get the foundations for transformational change. 

Mycelium is in constant conversation with its environmental conditions and the other organisms it bumps into, producing growth forms, and even new structures, depending on the circumstances.

I had just come from having my COVID booster shot, and my arm was sore. I rubbed by arm as I began to talk and somehow found an analogy that I had been searching for.  I explained that every year when the rates decisions get made it a bit like our annual flu shot, we are protecting ourselves from the coming season and next strain of a bug, but when we get a diagnosis of heart disease or diabetes it is usually a sign of genetics and past behaviours conspiring that requires not a quick fix, but lifestyle and sometimes surgical and / or medicinal interventions. We take stock, we assess, we plan, we stick to it mostly, and we still have to have our annual flu shot.  As I spoke to the group of senior citizens at a community centre, the nods went around the room. Many of them have heard a diagnosis like that either for themselves or a loved one, and I was no exception.

We often need extra support in these situations, perhaps even practitioners around us who have specialist skills. We stop taking a pulse to see if we are still alive and start gathering data to help us make the transitions we need to make to thrive. We reward ourselves along the way to remind ourselves we can do this, and we are on a transformative journey. We know the changes are going to come, with discipline, new practices, taking in the data, reflecting on what’s working and what isn’t and when other people start to notice and comment you get a little affirmation that keeps you on track. You slip back from time to time, but by keeping the records you can see where you are going and can demonstrate to yourself and others you are on your way. It is more than looking into the mirror, it is testing your mettle, not just every now and again, but over and over, building muscle memory, stamina and laying down new pathways to a different destination.  Very easy to slip back, a short cut here, a lapse of discipline there. I find being able to adapt, improvise, collect data, take in feedback, course correct with humility and humour, practice, practice, practice, acts of kindness to yourself, a bit of flair, colour and movement, all help.  You can’t play jazz unless you know all the scales.

Discerning what needs to happen next, may mean pausing for the moment to see which path to take, but my learning this week, and reminders from mycelium and adaptive leadership, is that more often than not, it is seeing there is no path and then making it.

2023 Mycelium #20 Small

Big and small are real. I often challenge myself with the idea of how little can I do to make a difference? A drop, the essence, just a taste, a well-timed glance, a hint, a whiff – how small can something be to shift the conditions? What is the lightest touch possible to be useful? This translated in my Playback Theatre practice when I was learning to conduct players, just how little direction was needed to frame up a story – could I invite the storyteller to give their story a title and that bring all the elements of what they had shared together? When twitter first came on the scene using 140 characters to communicate was a beautiful constraint. I would regularly ask my facilitation clients to explain to me their situation by giving it the name of a book or movie before they started briefing me with pages of words. 

As a young social work student in the early 80s it was a relief to learn about systems theory via the structural family therapy work of Salvador Minuchin.  If one part of the systems changed then all parts would need to change to adapt, and so working on one piece would be an intervention to the whole system. The work of E.F. Schumacher blew my mind when I first read it in 90s (first published in 1973) as part of my masters program in economics and ethics – it made so much sense. A book called Small is Beautiful was a wonderful invitation to explore to sustainability, village size community for village based economics and the value or really the power of education. I have always believed that one person can make a difference and whole communities can be mobilized for systems change.

I am constantly reflecting about doing small things in big systems as interventions, in my role as Mayor. It is a big job, in a big council, with multiple intersecting systems, in complexity and with huge challenges. My practices and disciplines are in conversation with my imperfect self on a regular basis. The frame and exercise of small is a useful common sense restraint to bring me back to process most days.

Just a drop of this and a trace of that, feels like a recipe for an alchemist. I am encouraged by advice from a nearly eight year old who tells me that a splash of the potion of healing is a lesson from Minecraft to deal with an Ender Dragon who is bent on destruction, however regeneration is the one proven method when under that kind of attack in the online world. To regenerate, is to renew, replace, restore damaged of missing cells, tissues, organs, maybe even whole body parts to bring back full functionality. I have a feeling in my world, that starts small, one little cell, one idea, one step at a time. The repair job feels big, but I do take encouragement from the Repair Café I was at yesterday that a stitch, some glue, a clamp, a new fuse, can bring new life. One of the conversations I had with a volunteer at the Cafe was all about the problems of closed systems, when you can’t even take the back off a machine to check what’s not working as it was designed for disposal. Such a travesty.

The right to repair feels very connected to this idea of small and its relationship to big. It is certainly a feature of mycelium, tiny threads attaching deeply, creating labyrinths of connectivity, inviting tiny acts of generosity and compassion as levers to apply in big systems.

Happy 1st Birthday to the Aberfoyle Park Repair Cafe. If you look closely you will see tiny sewing machine and hammer and needle chocolates.

2023 Mycelium #19 Plovers

Tiny little hooded plovers are precious and a battalion of volunteers spend their summers monitoring and protecting these shorebirds.  The Thinornis rubricollis are in mortal danger from predators that come in a range of guises – other larger birds, waves, dogs, foxes, cars and humans. Some of the predatory behaviour can be managed, others are left to luck. I was deeply moved by all the efforts of one species mobilising to look out for another and doing all in their power to ensure the best possible outcomes for each breeding pair. I just wondered want kind of planet we would be living on if we all lived with this same level of love to all species at risk. And how we might live to make sure this doesn’t happen to those of our own kind who are under threat and in trouble from bigger predators, or the elements?

The sentiment of the small growing into something big. Here in the hall down the road I was watching a movement of a few people swell into their hundreds; a little bird inspiring systems to change; small incremental adjustments opening a path forward for long term improvements.  This is how all change takes place. The inspiration is often from an idea or issue quite small in the beginning but then takes flight. In between hearing from all the volunteer teams from up and down the coast line I also thought about the adage “on a wing and a prayer”.  This phrase coined in World War II when a US pilot Hugh G Ashcraft had a wing of his plane lost in battle and the radio airwaves invited people to pray the plane and his pilot home safely and so they did. The difficult and dangerous relying on a community of love to bring him to ground in one piece.  The miracle is that people set their intention on the same goal and over-ride what might look inevitable if left to chance.

We need a wing and a prayer more than ever as we face the threats and our own mortal danger of climate. Only through the mycelium of movements working together will be get out of the trouble we are in. I am full of hope we can get there with concerted, compassionate efforts pulling together and the acts of all the plover lovers is an instruction book. Add in a dash of mycelium and I think we have all we need.

Then we have our own predators to worry about – the ones who get in the way, our own fears and inertia, systems that are unresponsive or broken. I find myself in this predatory environment and wondering what of the techniques being used to save the hooded plover that can be deployed with predator management.  The lovely, cuddly spaniel that sniffs outs fox dens are needed in my efforts as well. Well trained creatures who can get across a lot of ground and let their handlers know what dens are active and which ones need to be fumigated to mitigate settlement of a family of thoughts.  The fox dens are everywhere in this landscape and they too should be a message to us about how dangerous ideas come to live among us and then come out into the open under the cover of darkness. Sadly I am seeing a few foxes roam around in the day time.

I am not in the business of fumigation but am relying on the skill sets of others, while I go about doing what I can to build community strong mycelium for good.  

Pt Willunga, April 2023

Mycelium 2023 #18 Mushroom

Came across some noxious mushrooms in a square space bordered by a road, a track, a car park and a little grass patch, in between colonial and pre-colonial markers on the ancient songline of the banks of the river, just close to where the dunes tumble and hug the river and hide the sea from view. That was a long sentence. I didn’t want to break it up. It deserves to be said in one breath. Feels like there are too many breaks and the continuity and connectivity of place has way too many interruptions.  I wouldn’t have known if the mushroom was poisonous or not, but one of the people I was with knew, she had plenty of foraging experience handed down from generations and lives close to the land. Her land, she is a traditional owner. I was thinking about this blog and mycelium and all the connectivity between the place, the people, the stories, the river, the sea, the land and the sky. In the place that looked the least loved, there was the mushroom, inedible.

All the fibres invisibly holding and making soil underfoot, foundations for now and the future. And this mushroom has centre stage, fruit of the past popping up as an organic reminder of what lies beneath the surface. I couldn’t help but draw the bow back and think of how the mycelium of toxic keyboard warriors who from their dark spaces and in the practice of the dark arts of fear and fakery are popping up where I can see them in the full light of day.  I’ve had swirling around me another season of scuttle buck. The fibres are connecting through social media, platforms and spaces where people can be hidden with pseudonyms, where taking responsibility for what happens next, is not considered. There are those too who make the most of others misfortunes, are impatient, don’t take into account the conditions in which we find ourselves. I find these moments give us an insight into who holds privilege and who holds pain. 

A very simple example of this phenomena this week was a traffic build up on the southern expressway as the result of an accident between a motor cyclist and a motorist. The collision disrupted peak hour traffic and was the subject of talk back radio for almost as long as the time people were caught in the traffic.  It was a nuisance for sure, but I was shocked listening to hear very little concern for the people who were in the accident and even less for the police and emergency services who were managing the situation. We won’t always get it right and I have an expectation that everyone is doing their best. These are moments we get to see what lies underneath.

What connects us, what holds us together and what kind of fruit comes need not be aligned. We can be connected by a common story and place, we can be held together by fear, anger, joy, celebration and the fruits that come from these complex combinations might look ok on the surface, but may well be unpalatable. 

Good reminder from the mushroom to take a second look, consider what filters are working in the fibrous paths to bring this message to the top.

At Sauerbier House

Mycleium 2023 #17 Quilting

I bid on a quilt last night in a silent auction and brought it home. I was focussed on the effort, the thought, the seamstress, the designer of the pattern and the stories behind all quilts. In this silent auction there was significant homage to local bottles of wine which were spectacular, yet this item had the lowest number of bids on it and while mine was a reasonable bid, I think I got a bargain.

The whole night was full of sexual innuendo, gender specific roles and stories and a number of out-of-date and out-of-touch comments. When I mentioned we were on Kaurna land the level of noise went up in the room, it was so obvious that others spoke to me of it and several women came up to me to let me know how much they appreciated me being their Mayor, which was really touching amidst the feeling I had about being so uncomfortable with much of the evening.

I am so spoilt to be around many people who share my values and world views on justice, equity, and the value of place, especially in these post COVID times and climate action. It is a good reminder to me to be in places where these views are not shared, especially when I am representing the entire community – something that no one person of course can do. I am charged with being a unifying figure, and that does not always come easy. 

What does come easy is to support the efforts of those who are building community and so it was with pleasure to name and thank volunteers and the leadership involved in making community events happen. What also comes easy is to listen to those who come up to me with their troubles and disappointments with Council inaction or decisions they don’t understand. I also find it easy to connect to the ones who find themselves on the margins, to thank the people who served on the tables, cooked the meals and are busy in the kitchen cleaning up, to the volunteers and invisible partners and family members who help their loved ones realise their dreams. 

I find it easy to bid on quilts and celebrate the art and craft of women at events where there dominant paradigm has the female form as decorative and as a handmaiden.  Such a paradox these times are with women in leadership in all levels of decision-making in the boardrooms, parliaments and in my case, a council chamber. 

The mycelium of misogyny and colonisation rears its head and has a toxic bloom which I heard loud and clear when I mentioned the first nations people of this land. These are the same people who will be voting when the referendum for Voice comes along later in the year and I am trusting that in the privacy of the ballot box, not fuelled by alcohol or peer pressure, they will vote yes, because they are decent people who also want to right a wrong. But when I left the venue, that wasn’t what I felt, but as always, the sun has risen on a new day and I ready to get back out there to spread a little more mycelium for good.

And to reward me for thinking this way, I opened my emails this morning to find a councillor from a council in the eastern suburbs asking for some advice about a motion they are putting up to support the Voice. They heard me speak on a motion at the recent Local Government Association ordinary meeting. This is mycelium for good at work. Quilts get stitched together and were traditionally done by groups of women sharing their stories and supporting one another, and while I don’t really want to get into mixing metaphors, the quilt might just take on a permanent reminder to me of the way we can sew together our future one stitch at a time, just like the mycelium underground and then rising up for the whole world to see.

Quilt by Elaine Pellatt – Quilting in the Vines, McLaren Vale

2023 Mycelium #16 Football

Went to the footy on Friday night, which will probably be a surprise to some readers, it was a surprise to me. What I love about football has not a lot to do with what happens on the field, although I realise that is why people go to watch it. It is all the community and in particular the team work that goes on to get something on to the field. From the mums and dads who take their children to practice and save up to buy a special pair of boots, to the mind set coaches for the elite athletes that bring neuroscience and psychology to the players to give their best and meet the expectations of fans and sponsors alike. All the thousands of people and wildly different skill sets that put an event on that brings a community together in the often bleak and wet wintry conditions to be warmed by pies, pasties, each other’s company and an experience of solidarity cheering their team on.

Football matches are a extraordinary expression of mycelium made visible. The undergrowth bursting with multiple complex threads of energy finding their way to the surface and onto the perfectly curated ground and into the hands of a player taking a mark, kicking a goal, tackling an opponent, stilling themselves at the sound of a whistle.  Australian Rules Football is the largest team sport on the planet – 18 players on the field for each team – plus a squad of up to about 50 more behind the scenes, ready, willing and able to step up at any time to get onto the field. It is this feature of footy that has always inspired me – the size of the team on the field. I usually watch the grand final just to watch the play of the teams within teams and how the coaches work each of the lines and combinations to get the results they are looking for. I have often advised emerging and existing team leaders to watch a game and see what they can learn from the team-within-teams strategies for success.

In my role as Mayor, I haven’t been able to pick any of my fellow elected members, that responsibility rested with voters. So the challenge for me is to see what I can do to help us all orientate to the community and we aren’t playing against anyone. The goals we are trying to kick are for the whole community, not just one type of crowd. At the footy on Friday night I was thinking how much of what we do is in the binary world, often most expressed as us vs them. This is not what a council is though – it is all about collaboration and if there is any us vs them – the them is the future – how we can be as ready as we can be for the future, and shape it as we go along, so the goals we kick are accurate and inoculate future teams from missing the mark as best we can. 

Having this approach requires letting go of a binary world view and taking the lessons of what it takes to get a team onto the ground. I am reflecting that maybe my gig is the challenge of bringing all the training, experience, skills, ideas and expectations of individuals, forged to face the future with a common vision of being match fit and ready to kick goals?  This recent Festival of Football was branded as Gather Round and to see so many thousands of people turning up to gather around their teams and the game itself was a beautiful expression of the power of sport to bring people together.  I am hanging on to the legacy of the round to demonstrate what we can do when we all orientate ourselves to kicking goals at scale.

2023 Mycelium #15 Pillows

I went looking for a new pillow and started to wonder where pillows came from and their place in helping us rest. We all seem to have different preferences for a pillow – hard, soft, curved, rectangular, stuffed with foam, feathers, air.  The first pillows were for the rich to raise their heads from the ground so bugs didn’t crawl into noses or ears and they were made of stone. Then over the time the more pillows you had to the more it was a sign of wealth.

Pillow abundance is a thing and I don’t mind a set of pillows and have a collection of cushions and pillows of different shapes, sizes and fillings on my bed. I treat my bed these days as a nest and my pillows more of a clutch of comforting supports so I can rest and sometimes work decadently in bed.  This is a newish phenomenon. As a mother and wife I used to spend the minimum amount of time in bed, but widowhood and being child free I like to linger there sometimes. The humble pillows literally have my back.

I respect the sacred act of resting these days and feel a bit cheated that I didn’t in my younger years. Admittedly there was a lot going on … there still is … but I did disrespect rest and felt it a luxury I couldn’t afford … and for the record I only had one pillow on my bed in those days!  Having your head raised so the bugs don’t get into the ears and nose is a lovely invitation to appreciate the humble pillow. I am imagining my head lying on something softer than a stone, and the winged ear worms being left behind so I can rest and rise into a higher state of sleep.

There are people I know who are like pillows. They help us to rest, they help us to empty our minds to take a break, they fill us with dreams and possibilities, ready for you to lean on them. Thank you to all of the pillows in my life, human and otherwise. They wait patiently for me to come to them, and I always know where to find them, modelling stillness and being invitational without moving to come and find ease and possibly relief from buzzing in ears and things that get up your nose.

I’ve been having quite a lot of wild dreams lately, possibly due to new medication and / or the new pillow elevating me to a different plane. The dreams are very elemental with water, air and fire featuring, there is a lot of death going on and snippets of them on waking make me wonder if I have been in a dystopian Margaret Atwood science fiction novel. There is a theme emerging about stopping, rest, respite or perhaps retreat, a kind of getting ready rather than that running away. I think that is the pillow talking to me.

Sleep’s place in recharging is deep and necessary work. It is not an indulgent treat, it is the place where the mycelium of memories, fantasies and the sub-conscious can find their way out to bloom in the wilds of a new day.  Giving thanks to the pillow today and thanking whoever it was who first thought keeping insects out of ears over night was a good idea and to all the others in history who discovered a sack filled with softer materials worked too. And to the pillow people and places in my life I am deeply grateful.

2023 Mycelium #14 Turning

The crisp breath of autumn is now well and truly hanging around in the morning as the season settles in and now that daylight saving has come to an end within a few days we will all know we are heading towards many more cooler days and nights. It is a time of turning. All those colonial plantings of trees start to crisp and change colour. Creature hunkers down, vines get naked, while we add extra layers – a juxtaposition of nature. There seems to be a lot of that happening around me. 

Local government gives me plenty of opportunities to see things together that don’t normally sit together – and it is not always a pleasing aesthetic. A home taking up too much space on the horizon and blocking out the sun and views of neighbours, the removal of habitat to support a car park, a new estate adding trees that belong in another hemisphere … the list goes on.  Then there is the pairings of elected members in wards, where voters have chosen very different types of people, personalities, skills and experience to represent them. And there is the juxtaposition of the levels of government.

When I am looking for a major chord and often find something discordant, it is as if the left and right hands are playing completely different chords! At choir this week I had an insight and began to think about how local government needs to add a seventh here and there to make things work. Getting the systems to work together and hum is easy when the settings stay the same, but like the seasons, they are always shifting a little every day. I am looking to biomimicry to see where juxtapositions in nature might be instructive for these seemingly impossible pairings and triads in systems.

Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges—and find hope. I wonder what advice we can find in nature to help us through and I find that the turning of the seasons on my mind. Nothing is permanent. Nature does find fascinating ways to create mutuality and connection between species and all kinds of interdependence. So many of the challenges we have are design challenges. I know I turn to the principles of improv and permaculture, over and over again to see if I can find a way through – yes and – holds true most days. For those of us who have lost our connection to land through migration, displacement, being torn from country, we can look to those who have that continuous relationship for guidance and we can also look to nature for advice and clues.

When I look to the mycelium it is the expression of interconnectedness and the relationship of what is seen above the surface and what requires more digging to be seen under the ground that helps me with empathy and patience. We need to be brave enough and curious enough to honour what is bearing fruit and what nutrients are feeding what grows above the ground. We also need to learn what of those are poisonous to what species. Something quite colourful and beautiful can also be toxic – a juxtaposition if ever there was one. There will be those juxtapositions that will do more than upset a stomach, there are some that can be lethal.

As this season starts to turn, we enter into a new invitation to listen and learn. We find ourselves at the edge again to recognise what is going to fall away, what new life is going to emerge from the next burst of energy stored in the plants, what the soil has made while it takes a rest in the cool. If it gets too cold the mycelium will go dormant, another reminder to pay attention to the conditions, and to remember that to every season, turn, turn, turn. There is a time for everything and sometimes you just need to wait for the next season and take the time to be ready for the next turning, just as nature does.

 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3 1-15

Beach Road Wines, Seaview Rd, McLaren Vale – venue for my neices 21st birthday yesterday