Taking Root: Maturation from an Annual to Perennial Based Lifestyle

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Early in the year when the maple sap flowed from wounds in their bark, the grounds thawed, and animals came out of hibernation, I challenged myself to entertain a market gardener role on a productive bio-dynamic garden based on the agricultural principles of Rudolf Steiner. Fusing magic with method, technique with time based calendrical sowing and reaping. I stored aside most of what I knew about tending the soil and turned an eye to the stars to learn the bio-dynamic methods of annual crop rotation for the production of a farmers market store of fruits and vegetables. This is where I gleaned all the customer experience from those who support the organic and bio-dynamic food movements. In time, I was able to provide the finest heirloom and cleanest food from the cultivated ground, and some supplementary foods from the wild ranges surrounding my trailer home. Crops were picked on Fridays and Tuesday for the community supported agriculture programs, and then kept vital until the following day. Energies had their origin from the source but were hastily expended outwards.


Managing a market garden means being on plant time, and this is one interesting aspect of farming, and my trans-continental permaculture journey, adapting to several different time zones, paces, and routines. In the garden, the conditions of the soil, rain, sun, and airborne nutrients (as well as social events) decide when to work, and when it is permitted to rest. Over two seasons of this recognition of yearly gardening schedule, and the greater five years of my travels, a pattern of impermanence also becomes prevalent. The annual lifestyle carries with it habits that are born, sown, cultivated, maintained, and reaped, to then lie dormant or go through a period of flux, adaptation or stasis for awhile, these annual cycles practiced in the garden, also have sway in the way I lived the rest of my life for five years. Thee annual, or oft times seasonal opportunities or experiences were also en-woven through all aspects of it, from part time farm placements, to in-temporary partners, highly mobile nomadic travel, short-lasting friendships, and overall a sense of shallow rootedness to a relationship with life and its inhabitants.

Now, I have been experiencing yet another turn of the tides, a new arrows trajectory or planetary perspective. This has seemed to happen in three to six year phases of my existence. This switch in conscious foci has enveloped me with new commitments, more adaptive cultural strategies of living on this planet, and has engendered a deeper root stratum with which to hold fast to the shifting sands of time. It is the transformation, (to use the agricultural metaphor, into one more in line with permaculture), from an annual based lifestyle to a perennial one. This means stronger and more integral relationships with others, my partner for instance, new archetypal energies of the settler, rather than the wanderer/lover/fool, which I have dance with before. Moving ever more intimately with the sacred masculine role of the provider-protector, and getting a better hold on the patterns of one place, one at a time. It can be likened to saving seeds and continuing their lineage for many years into your garden or food forest, or planting perennial crops and trees to last the bridging between generations.

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I think the metaphor of annual cycles becoming perennial has highly symbolic appliance into our personal lives, as the world scrambles to make sense of rapid change, and nuclear individualism threatens the community at large while we attempt to live long, healthy and sustainable lives, ones that I might add are in direct primacy with immediate experience while having an eye on the future of things to come. In also entails less reliance on a consumer oriented cycle of buying and selling, following yearly trends in society, and constantly halting the progress of the innate natural flow of place based living. It is like pouring grit into a well oiled machine that then needs to be taken apart, cleaned and started all over, or continually cutting down forests for gain and preventing the diversity of life to relish in its late expressions.

As I have observed my fellows who have come to the same place in life that I now look out from, and settled into a more refined, provident, and sanguine existence with their respective partners or children, it has waxed and grown in sense to me of the natural proclivity to do just that. Not to domesticate the species human, that is confine to the domicile, but to actually engender, the more lucid and genuine connections to life, love, and all that comes with it. To stay authentic in a very edited world, I have felt the need to slow down, to find myself where I stand, and work on that right where it is, using what I have within arms reach at first, and extending from the trunk to grow many branches back into the middle world, never struggling too hard for survival, preserving comfort while striving to get deeper in, more involved, and altogether a more human being.

24 months ago, this seed had not yet been planted and stratified in my mind to gestate into a full grown plan. I had been happy to simply follow loosely guided routes into the unfolding day with my own self styled navigational system, primarily one of nomadism, wanderlust, novel habits, and open ended relationships. I thought this might simply go on forever, but there was always a feeling that it could all change course, and the seas of fate would wash me onto another shore, maybe it would be accidental pregnancy of a lover, or mental breakdown, a rite of passage, or the sobering view of the worlds problems with a direct call to action for its citizens to do the work, and stop wasting time. It may have also come in the form of maturation, a rise of fathering instincts, and the realization of simple comforts that can be derived from seeing the fruit of your labor ripen before your eyes long term. The completely new habitation of mind, when yoked to the greater loom, and facing a new world, one in which you are not just yourself, the ego dissolves into another, be it your wife, tribe or child. We become cut of the greater homespun, and share a more integrated weave in the textile. Photo 2018-09-06, 3 30 57 PMThe title of ‘From Annual to Perennials is also a bit of word spinning on my behalf to describe the way I have amalgamated my experiences with earth stewardship, permaculture gardening, and long term habit forming creature comfort lifestyles, where there is less stress on the individual and a dispersal of energy and output among the pack living openly in its habitat. This openness creates space for innovation, culture forming, rest, creativity, and ritual, and serves as a free ground for spiritual exploration beyond mere survival and supplement. As we engender more room to grow, and cultivate our lives from the perennial standpoint, we see life as a more permanent place to live, and therefore treat it differently than we would if we were just passing migrants in a foreign land. When we become native to the land, and experience the subtle changes of years, these interests start to ferment and acquire even richer meaning, which eventually builds heritage, sustainability, and wisdom, which is expressed in the forms of family, legacy, and myth.


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