Permanent Culture: This is what we are told permaculture stands for. It can be applied on small scales in a tiny garden or on massive scales for entire communities.
Some have said that zone 0 in permaculture includes the human to human interactions that happen within this zone. It is not something I have really weighed my
mind on, nor do I plan to talk about it much. However, it being the time of year that it is, thoughts of human interaction seem to more plentiful than in the rest of the
My wife and I were thinking about the Christmas season and how to make it more special in our home. We quickly came to realize that it has been since the death
of my mother that Christmas just did not seem to hold the magic that it used to. In time the conversation turned to how what my wife likes most about the holidays is
not the special meals, gift giving or decorations – it is family.
These revelations have struck a tone in me. Time is, indeed, precious. There is, in fact, a lot of time available to us. It only seems sparse because of the other things
we have chosen to fill it with. For instance, I chose to buy acreage and have a home built on it, therefor it is necessary that I have a job to pay for it. That takes up a
lot of my time but in the end it was my choice to fill my time this way.
As we take the time to prepare our properties for permaculture plantings we are slowly grooming the land into a place where relationships will be in place for decades
to come. Some plant will always somehow support another, or support animal life, and all of it will help build the soil. We build these relationships for the benefit of
ourselves and for that of our property. As we help it live a long strong life full of these beneficial relationships it provides us with the nutrition and resources necessary
for us to live a long strong life ourselves.
But what of our own beneficial relationships? Sure, a garden or property can bring a family together as each takes up a task to make the burden lighter for each
person. But isn’t there something deeper, something more meaningful? Could you have a permanent culture of human relationship, growing, strengthening and
becoming more diverse over time and lasting for decades?
Perhaps this is one reason we cherish these holiday seasons. No matter what religious tradition we celebrate, or do not; no matter how lavish our gifts are from one
to another; no matter how plentiful the harvest or extravagant the meal, the one thing our family looks for in all of these occasions is the companionship of family. A
time to step away from the routine to simply enjoy each other’s company.
Perhaps this is one of our ways to create a permaculture within our family zone. The way for us to build our relationships to the point that, should any component go
missing, the rest of the group suffers. Just as our land is dependent on each part of the plan, so is our family dependent on each member of it.
Whatever your family’s traditions are at this time of the year – or whenever you celebrate your holidays – take the time to build these relationships. Form those
permanent relationships that will cause your family to grow and strengthen for all time. It is these connections that will matter in 20 years, and they will make your
family all the better.