We learn to love through violent movies and bombastic songs. What if the lessons were not there, but on earth?
Vanesa lives in a little house like dolls , in a popular neighborhood of a noisy island. But all the hustle and bustle, the swaying of tourists, the frantic pace, everything stays at the door.
Vanesa’s house seems detached from time , captured in a bubble where everything happens differently. At the back of the house, a piece of land rescued from the asphalt emerges as a garden.
A garden orchard, a jungle orchard, extremely alive. When someone asks Vanesa how she gets it, she smiles, adjusts her red hair bow and answers, on the side: “with love. In this house we take care of everything with love “.
The love that Vanesa refers to is based on respect for the primordial nature of each one, what Islamic philosophy calls the “fitra” and that classical Greek philosophy collects as “essence”. It is not a conception of castrating and immobilizing essence, but quite the opposite: flowers are not forced to flower to be flowers, but it is blossoming that they become flowers.
This way of relating to the environment is the traditional way in which the original communities of the world have been related to the earth.
We speak, for example, of the way in which Quechua and Aymaras dialogue permanently with Pachamama, something that in the industrialized world we tried to recover from the 1970s with concepts such as permaculture. This term was born in Australia in the 1970s by Bill Morrison and David Holmgreen who denounce the food production that depletes the soil and reduces biodiversity.
Learning to love from the earth
This relationship with the land and the environment can be applied to our whole way of inhabiting the world . From the garden to the couple, through our neighborhood relations and our positioning in front of the great conflicts that shake the world and of which we are also part, actively or passively.
In order to cultivate gardens in a world full of noise, slowness is necessary . Find ways to stop the rhythm, to breathe again, to shut up and listen again, to stop producing, to run, to remember why we ran, and to decide if we want to keep running.
The infinite flight, the constant frenzy is not a personal decision alone: we live in a world that imposes those rhythms, how to change our rhythms if it is something so much bigger than ourselves?
Let’s go back a moment to Vanessa’s garden. It is a box of land won on asphalt, a place without many possibilities that has known, however, to adapt through synergies and cooperation. The land is not especially fertile, the patio orientation is not the ideal, but Vanesa has been combining plants that are well done with each other, whose roots can be distributed fairly for all, with that justice that comes from living in common, from the ethics of care.
The earth, like love and ties, do not admit rush: the harvest arrives when it is its moment, it can not be imposed, nor forced, at the risk of turning it into something artificial.
If we do not let everything take its necessary time, we will achieve something short-term , but unsustainable as a whole. The slowness gives the necessary space for observation: what does the earth need? What do the plants need? What do they need from me, and what do I need from them? And also, with these questions, awareness of limits.
Permaculture dismantles the imaginary of the almighty gardener who can force the limits of the environment at will. The earth is a companion, not a producing and substitutable machine.
The hierarchy no longer serves: here we are talking about the welfare of the whole. So, what are the limits of the earth, and what are my own limits, as a gardener? How much time can I dedicate? How many cares? In what way and what not?
The rhythm of flowers and loves
Knowing one’s own possibilities and being consistent with them is a form of care and self-care, of commitment to the group based on a knowledge of oneself that no one else can have and that is their own responsibility.
The last ingredients of that paradigm elaborated with slowness and observation are patience and acceptance.
Patience not to force the rhythms or the forms , to accept the evolution of things, of flowers, of loves, of bonds. And accept that becoming.
We can put our effort in building these becomings, but it is necessary to accept that our effort is part of things much bigger than us, and that does not stop being important and necessary.
When Vanesa talks about her garden and love, she refers to these elements . With them you can not get the biggest garden, nor the greenest, nor the most leafy. But you do get a livable garden for everyone, a space of silence in the midst of noise, a place where you create necessary, involved and transforming worldly existences.
Love, lack of love and earth on the big screens
The cinema has widely collected the relationship between nature and a humanity in perpetual friction between the domination of the environment and the pact of life with the natural.
- Towards wild routes is a film directed in 2007 by Sean Penn and based on the homonymous novel by Jon Krakauer that tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young American who decided to live isolated in the natural immensity of Alaska. The film reflects the frictions between the urban human being and the unstoppable desire of natural becoming.
- Atanarjuat, the legend of the fast man , by Zacharias Kunuk, is the first film written, directed and starred entirely in the Inuit language, the language of the Eskimo communities. It tells a millenary history of confrontation between two families in an unlimited white and frozen land. Patience, slowness and silence are the thread of this magnificent film.
- Grizzly man , a documentary directed by Werner Herzog that builds on Timothy Treadwell’s filming of his life among bears. It deals with the limits and possibilities of the relationship with an antagonistic alterity that acts as what it is: bears in a natural state.
- The snake’s embrace , wonderful film essay directed by Ciro Guerra, narrates the encounter and disagreement between an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his tribe and two scientists in search of a plant, metaphor of the diametrically opposite relationship between one and the other with nature and with life.