Select Page











As a designer of small to large acreage I know that pretty pictures and scintillating narratives do not a comprehensive Permaculture design make. It does not end here. Nature has an intriguing way of succesionally filling all niches. Somehow these snapshots, these creative gestures that we create are only a conceptual map, a set of goals, a vision for only a “finished” product, a corpse of sorts. But, in the long and short of it, all life beyond the picture is management: grooming, fixing, dealing with human and animal interrelationships, the list goes on ad infinitum because it never does not end. Is infinite the proper adjective (take it as noun, verb, whatever) here, be that as it may? Is our protracted observation (per Bill Mollison) a one year deal or an always, ever, forever deal?

Who brushes their teeth upon awakening from a night’s slumber (or before falling into dream worlds)? Who does the dishes (all hail the dishwasher – got to rinse them off first – stack em in – soap – run – dry – back onto the shelves and into the cabinets)? Oh my, work, work, work. What to eat? Fast food? Off to Mickey D’s. Got to fuel up (the car). Got to order. Got to chew, digest, dispose of wrappers, and inevitably poop it all out (which can be work). So, we create beautiful designs. Works of aesthetically superlative art, simple snapshots that do not change outside of the fact that the paper that they are printed on deteriorates, the computer that they were created on contracts a virus, the hand that drew them withers with age, you know the scene, eh?

All life is management, maintenance. Install those trees! Build that straw bale house! Gray water! Yeah! All fine and good. Management! Management! Management! Maintenance!

When I was a framer I was a farmer. Sunup to sundown. Paperwork at night. When I was a builder: detail, detail, detail. When the house was finished (?) the homeowner had to adjust the thermostat for comfort, change filters, paint, sweep, plumb, egads…

Design is key, but in the long and short of it management and maintenance are life after the picture (and before it). If the picture is fluid, if it does not end with the printed page, if past and future converge on the present and all is immersion in constant change, if we never step in the same river twice but are still willing to step in the river, than we are immersed in the living and dying of it, always…