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:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 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