Reflecting on Life's Principles
DATE: SUNDAY FEBRUARY 5, 2017.
LOCATION: BACK YARD, UNION CITY, CALIFORNIA.
WEATHER: COOL, WINDY, CLEAR.
Resilience: ants in my neighborhood are so resilient. We keep spraying them (true story) and they keep coming back. For a few years, they were so intent on coming in from every opening that if the weather changed, if it rained, if any food were left out, they would take over within minutes. I haven’t seen any in awhile but their resilience and tenacity has always amazed me.
Optimization: Rose bush. A few years ago we planted a rose vine (new dawn climbing rose) that we were hoping would beautifully frame our shed. Within a few years it completely overtook the shed and though it was beautiful it was a high maintenance mess and was impacting the structure. We had to cut it back quite a bit, and it’s much more manageable now, but it was amazing to see how quickly it took over, how much it grew, and that it would not stop until it had destroyed the shed if we had not trimmed it down.
Adaptation: Skunks, possoms. We have a pesky skunk infestation in the area. They seem to burrow under the shed no matter how many bricks we lay in their way. In addition, we have some territorial possess that like to have babies and raise their young under the shed. They also like to chew our metal grates and get into our crawl space and make creepy noises all night. They’re nocturnal so they stay up all night making their little homes inside and underneath our home. We have trapped over 10 possums, all of which were very young. We haven’t trapped any skunks in years. They’re outsmarting our fig newton traps.
Systems-based: Birds. Birds in the area pretty incredible. We have a lot of jays and song birds, and I’ve even spotted a mated pair of Ravens that lived in some trees in an unused lot behind our yard. Birds are interdependent on all other ecosystems, they migrate, they utilize our roofs and trees as homes, use trees, fences, houses, as places to attract mates.
Values-based: As I sit here reflecting, the one thing I notice most is the wind. In particular, the sound of the leaves rustling in the trees and the wind chimes. This sound is a powerfully soothing sound as it embodies the impact natural elements have on man-made elements. It's a subtle reminder that no man-made or natural element is free of natural impact, whether it be from wind, weather, or simply time. I also here cars driving by, and that reminds me that no system can escape man's mechanical footprint and noise. We are a busy little species, and even when we're quiet, nature is busily at work as well.
Life-supporting: dog. Dogs are pretty darn special. We’ve domesticated and bred them to be safe, trainable, obedient companions, that rely on us for al food and shelter.
My body puts up with a lot of pressure, stress, and abuse. From weight training, a demanding, stressful job, commuting, being on my feet all day one day followed by sitting at a desk all day the next, and then filtering out pollutants and toxins, (including cosmetics) insane amounts of caffeine, small infrequent doses of alcohol, my body just keeps on going! It is resilient, interdependent, systems-based, adapted, optimized, and values-based. It’s also life-supporting when it tends, nurtures, cares for, motivates and encourages others.
This reflection brought me to a place of creative inspiration. I’m interested in exploring a restorative structural fabric that encompasses all of life’s principles. It would be modular, flexible in all dimensions, could function as a skin or a structure, and could be programmed for form and function. This is based on the structural network of nutrient transport in leaves.
I’ve included some diagrams I’ve been working on during and after my BCI session this week.