Mainstream at the Edges of the World

In a time of destruction, create something: a poem, a parade, a community, a school, a vow, a moral principle; one peaceful moment.” ~ Maxine Hong Kingston

A corner of my pantry, we call it jokingly “the survivalist”

The above quote is posted at the top of Bealtaine Cottage’s blog, a blog I encourage all my readers to visit and follow to see how permaculture shows up in all its splendor and potential.

In one of her last posts, Collette, the blogger and Bealtaine Cottage’s creator wrote about the view from the edge of the world and got me thinking about my own choices: to stay in mainstream or to leave to create my own paradise and work “from the edges” as one of permaculture’s principles suggests…

It is really very tempting to leave all behind and create something like what Collette created: Bealtaine Cottage (Ireland), or a simpler and more radical but not less beautiful like what Phil did in El Pocito (Spain).

It is also easy to get lost and overwhelmed by all what’s wrong in the world and forget the beauty that’s still possible…

Both places (Collette’s and Phil’s) show how “sustainable” and “resilient” don’t necessarily mean ugly or poor and while they both require hard work and being truly resourceful, more than “sacrifice”, they require knowing and accepting when enough is enough.

One of my latest batches of preserved plums and peaches and some chutney

An Energy Descent Action Plan may look like either Collette’s or Phil’s places or may look like something completely different depending on the local available resources, tools, needs and the people’s skills. It may be applied to an individual, a household or an entire community.

What these bloggers have done in those places may not be accessible to everybody (not to me at least for now and not to millions around the world starving or plugged as slaves to a system they cannot change), but the fact that they exist show what’s possible: what if an entire household, a group of friends, an activists group or even an entire community commit to do an EDAP design that easily may resemble Beltaine’s Or El Pocito’s places in their beauty, simplicity and resilience?

It is said that the antidote to despair is action, I would add action with soul: allowing all what the soul represents to guide you with all its sensuality and deep understanding of cycles and opposites, creating beauty, allowing beauty to manifest.

I admire what these people have done and know there are many others out there spreading beauty and leading by example that the “Good Life” is not only achievable, but necessary.

There are places also fully dedicated to not only show but also teach through in-site practicum or work-stay options, such as O.U.R. Ecovillage right here in BC, Canada.


Lately, I’m becoming more and more committed to create beauty and to “inflict” beauty along with love, compassion and joy to others…

The question at the beginning of this post remains open: mainstream or the edges? Where we are most needed? Where are our gifts and skills better utilized? Are we called to be a demo of what’s possible or a powerhouse behind others so they may make these places a reality for all?

Both positions are necessary, what remains to be seen is which one is our call.

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
~ Maya Angelou

My own little corner:

On my suburban townhouse deck, here is Bilbo the cat always making sure I read for long enough

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