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inquiring systems for permaculture designers

Free Range Worms

My attempts to place a fence around the garden are futile. When I arrive at the garden, I see the rabbit dash away. He dashes across the open but pauses just before entering the forest. I have ideas about what he is thinking as he sits there motionless in all his rabbitness, but I do not really know. He could be thinking about his love for Lady Rabbit. Who knows? Does the rabbit even know? Presumably God knows. Or perhaps the rabbit's thoughts are the thoughts of God. Either way I turn to go about my work with the compost piles and when I look back at the edge of the forest, I see no rabbit. As if the rabbit had vanished, my being understands this sharing of this hill with this rabbit. As if rabbits and chickens were all I have left, I sing out to the rabbit with a melody of peace for all sentient beings.

I lift my legs over the fence and enter the garden. I take the rainwater that yesterday collected in cups and buckets and pools, and pour some of this water on the compost piles. When I say compost piles, please know, that this plural compound noun is a kind of shorthand for me. I visualize a web of life living in those compost piles, decomposing. At least, from my point of view of things. From the point of a view of a nematode this might be just another day in the garden of life. My mind is increasingly mindful of the holistic view. With multiple perspectives, Thirteen Ways to Looking at a Compost Pile becomes 25,000 perspectives. For me, "compost pile" is code for a vast community of microorganisms and worms. And, just as my garden has over-looked holes in the fence for the rabbit, it would be silly to attempt a fence around the worms. With this sheet of recycled cardboard on the bare soil, I dedicate myself to the idea that all worms may one day again be free range worms.

I see a great white heron overhead and I hear Deva (our special chicken friend) in flight with the woosh of the wind. In my mind I hold her close to my heart. Her feathers are soft and silky and soothing upon my soul. How is it that I could learn so much knowledge from a chicken? In Inquiring Systems School, the lessons pointed to this. Nevertheless, I am in new territory here. Deva showed us how to live. She taught us to take dust baths in the sun. I offer up silly chicken melodies, with sleep-time stories, but there is a lifetime of gratitude due. A free heart coincides with memories of Deva, this chicken who farmed with us. The moon bears witness that Deva is still here. Yesterday at work I heard on the radio that Beatles song "Blackbird" and I started to sob uncontrollably. Of course that song was on The White Album. Deva is high above all the fences on this world, perched on the branch eternal. She is the Radiant Chicken that shines soft white and black feathers to soak up and brush away our tears. Everything is beautiful; hear Deva purring.