Life has resumed some normalcy after the Standard–but still, I don’t approach things in quite the same way I did before.
I’d been feeling the need to attend a Standard class for over a year, but a sudden sense of urgency and practical drive pushed me to take the Standard in California. In part, my husband and I have been enjoying our weekend WILD classes so much, that we agreed we both needed to take the Standard at least in 2012. Sometimes you have to just go for it.
I knew that the approach to nature, community, and self-responsibility that was taught at the school would blend with permaculture. I’ve been telling my permaculture students that I feel that a person’s education in the world today is truly through blending permaculture and the ways of wilderness schools such as Tracker School. I’ve admired the work of Penny Livingston-Stark and Jon Young together. I would love to participate in and support other such programs (indeed, that’s the very path I would love to see happen here in Bloomington).
At the Standard, even from the first moments of registration, I did field a few permaculture questions. More often, volunteers and students were encouraging me to bring the perspective of the Standard into my permaculture work. And, I have to say, I’m all for it. Absolutely, I will teach sections of the course with greater confidence, new skills and activities, and a deeper sense of what it means to be alive as a person on the planet.
That’s what happened at this course. I became more alive. I felt close to the Earth, my ancestors, and future generations. Through skillful instruction and gentle support, I didn’t just collect 100+ pages of notes, but I broke my heart open and let the gentle guidance of taking responsibility for my own survival on the planet begin to work on me in new ways.
Knowing something of providing your own shelter, fire, water, and food brings you more into right relationship with everything around you. This is more basic than the swales and mulch and architecture and currencies of my permaculture life. It is more primal. It is real.