Monday, January 16, 2017

Reflections on my Biome

 I’m so confused about my biome.  I can’t understand it.  Where are the boundaries?  It reminds me of OUR TOWN, the play.  Here’s the quote I’m remembering from it. 

I never told you about that letter Jane Crofut got from her minister when she was sick. He wrote Jane a letter and on the envelope the address was like this: It said: Jane Crofut; The Crofut Farm; Grover’s Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America…Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the mind of God – that’s what it said on the envelope. 

So my address would be Cindee Karns, AlaskaBioshelter, RamValley drainage, Eagle River Valley, Anchorage; SouthCentral; Alaska; and then the rest and finally: the Mind of God.  The Mind of God is the coolest. 

Permaculture says to design from WHOLE to PARTS and to look for patterns.  What’s my whole?  If I work on designs for all of my biomes, will that thinking process of mine somehow seep out into other’s thoughts of their biomes?  Since Permaculture also says start with observations, that’s a good thing.  It gives me some focus, but then I get lost when I’m hearing a podcast about the similarities between Italy’s President and our in-coming president.  That’s a pattern and if you look closer at other countries you can see other similar patterns in leadership.  What pattern is that?  Do I have a responsibility for that Biome? 
And then I go out to shovel snow.  I don’t hear the birds that I know winter here.  I hear snow blowers all around me.  That’s a pattern.  Is that a sign of our pattern of oil dependency?  Or am I just observing that because I have a shovel in my hand and am feeling a little elite in my attempt to become part Amish.  J

Eklutna Lake
I often think of who might have come back to this valley in ancient times:  where was the glacier?  It’s still astonishing to me that Knik was the named because it was the END of the Knick glacier when the town was founded.  Amazing.  We still have a glacier hanging above us I think.  No telling when it will be gone.  Soon I fear.  It sends water down to us—on both sides of our neighborhood.  Many of us drink it right from the stream. 

I see cottonwoods everywhere---an awful tree to partner with in terms of a heat source, but they are responsible, along with the willow and other water-loving plants, that sprouted and grew really fast because of the water source.  All of those leaves over the years have turned this valley into a place of soil, a place that can be cultivated, albeit with LOTS of rocks throughout.

There are many animals up here, but they are also down in the valley:  moose, bears, coyotes, rabbits.  We could have warm clothes, bear fat and meat to eat, but I’m not sure we could feed the current population in our neighborhood.  We have plenty of year round birds to entertain us:  ravens, eagles, chickadees, nuthatches, and stellar jays, and my favorite:  the grouse.  Our nocturnal residents help us keep our vole populations down:  owls and coyotes, but unfortunately they eat the grouse too.   

 So, if I think of my ancestors, I don’t think they would have settled here.  Even though there’s fresh water, and SOME spruce trees, it’s 1 mile up on the side of the mountain.  They might have lived in the valley after the glacier receded. But not up here. 

It certainly makes me wonder if I should live here?  I rely on fossil fuel to drive that mile up and then another 10 miles to town.  We use lots of electricity and natural gas to stay warm.  We have to import our wood because we live in a cottonwood forest.  However, it all might be changing.  Our summers are now warmer and I see the cottonwood struggling, but so are the birch and the willows.  There isn’t enough water or snow melt.  Apparently this area used to be covered in PINE trees before the last glaciers covered our area.  Maybe that will be the new tree? 

The mind of God……up here in the mountains.  What pattern is that?

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