- It takes a village to raise a child - African saying
- Nature is our best teacher
- we are the world, we are the ones to make a brighter day!..
- Natural farming, food forest
- We dig our grave with our teeth
- Freedom of expression is my birth right
- Freedom of speech comes with great responsibility
- I become what I see in myself. All that thought suggests to me, I can do; All that thought reveals to me, I can become. This should be man’s unshakeable faith in himself, because God dwells in him.
- The Mother said - it is not this OR that, it is this AND that
- Life is for living not to understand
- "Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees."
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
But when I called EcoService to do the honors, they laughed. “Yea, it’s far out there. We’ll get to it when we can.” Weeks passed. I feared no one would come to our remote forest.
I received the call and immediately set to work. I knew the truck would get lost, but that’s fine: It would give me time to cut the thorns in the driveway. Our cab driver refused to enter the property for fear of his car; the least I could do was ensure the garbage truck could make it to the trash.
In my little sundress I removed the gate, raked the path, chopped the thorns. I winced as the bushes poked through my flimsy sandals and cut the bottom of my feet. I sweat so much I hated the smell of myself. And every five minutes I answered the phone to give the trash collectors new directions.
They arrived just as I finished clearing the way. “But where to go? Please come with us.” There was no room up front.
So I climbed in the back with the bags of trash. Driving towards the land, dodging cashew branches that hit the truck, thorns in my feet, drenched in sweat, and surrounded by garbage, I laughed. This is what my life has come to.
And I like it. A lot. :)
Monday, July 27, 2009
After rising rapidly to the top of national best-seller lists, first-time author Vladimir Megré has some explaining to do.
Just who is this extraordinary woman Anastasia? How did Megré become her messenger… and her lover? Anastasia's visions in Book 1 are already becoming reality and readers are demanding to know more. What else did she tell him? Here in his second book, Megré reveals some of the answers… and raises a lot more questions.
Prepare to plunge deeply into Anastasia's wild and brilliant world as the author embarks on an adventure through the vast expanses of space, time and spirit—from the paradise-like glade in the Siberian forest, to the rough urban depths of Russia's capital city; from the ancient mysteries of our forebears, to a vision of humanity's radiant future.
Along the way you'll get a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how Anastasia and the Ringing Cedars Series came to be published.
“Way back in ancient times people living on the Earth
had the capacity to use wisdom and intelligence far surpassing
the abilities of modern Man. People at the time of the Earth's
pristine origins enjoyed ready access to all the information in
the entire database of the Universe.”— Anastasia
Sunday, July 26, 2009
He doesn’t limp. His coat’s shiny. He’s starting to gain weight. And the once dull body seems suddenly so full of life, so eager to play! Hell, he even barks sometimes.
The night before last, he killed a snake. Brought the tiny carcass to the door so full of pride. We received the offering with mixed feelings.
And just yesterday, he began to live up to his name of Gopal—yea, that’s right, he chased a cow! He spotted it in the distance, rose to his feet, and began his pursuit all by himself. Ok ok, so to get him to take the next step I had to run too—but this time instead of Gopal chasing me chasing a cow, he took the middle slot. Woohoo!
Now if only he’d learn to sit…
Thursday, July 23, 2009
People say this is the hottest summer the area’s seen in 80 years. Eighty years. The path is like quicksand. The air feels like a wool blanket. The baby plants in the far corners of the Land are not happy. We are all thirsty.
People say the rain is coming. They claim to feel it, to know it in the sea, or to predict its arrival based on weather reports from elsewhere in India. But I look at 10-day forecast after 10-day forecast and none of them even remotely hint at rain. The meteorological gods are not responding to our desperate cries for comfort.
What to do?
I asked Google how I can do my part to coax the rain into coming, and these are the most interesting sites I found:
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Anastasia, the first book of the Ringing Cedars Series, tells the story of entrepreneur Vladimir Megré's trade trip to the Siberian taiga in 1995, where he witnessed incredible spiritual phenomena connected with sacred "ringing cedar" trees. Here he discovered a beautiful young woman named Anastasia, living alone deep in the forest. He spent three days with her during which she displayed the most extraordinary physical, mental and psychic powers.
She also shared with him her unique outlook on a vast range of subjects as diverse as happiness,
This wilderness experience affected Vladimir so deeply that he abandoned his commercial plans and went to Moscow to fulfill Anastasia's request to write a book about what he had witnessed and the insights she had shared with him. She told him she would imbue his books with an energy that would uplift the spirit and cause them to sell in the millions. True to her promise this life-changing book has become an international bestseller and is now touching the hearts of millions of people world-wide.
“In the book you are going to write, Vladimir, there will be unobtrusive combinations, formulations made up of letters,
and they will arouse in the majority of people good and radiant feelings. These feelings are capable of overcoming ailments of body and soul, and will facilitate the birth of a new awareness inherent in people of the future. Believe me, Vladimir, this is not mysticism—it is in accord with
the laws of the Universe.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
“What do you mean, goldfish?” I asked.
“They grow according to their environment, and they’ve been trapped in a little basket their whole lives, so they haven’t grown much.”
The theory sounded good, but what do I know about chickens? Then it hit me: she didn’t know anything about chickens either. “Are you sure?”
“Of course!” She feigned insult. I remained silent. A moment passed. Then she looked at me hesitantly before adding with a laugh, “I mean, I haven’t read it anywhere or anything...”
Still, it was good enough for me. “It’s time to move the chickens.”
However, we soon realized that was easier said than done.
First, we tried herding them with sticks. They didn’t cooperate. In fact, we looked so ridiculous the Old Man was bent over laughing at us from the peaceful security of his house.
So we tried catching them with a sheet. They were too quick. Every time we came within sheet-throwing distance, they’d scuttle out of range or take cover beneath a prickly bush. These goddam chickens are wiser in the way of warfare than they lead you to believe.
Then we resorted to the basket, catching Mamma underneath and scrambling around to convince the four chicks to join her. But the distance between the storeroom and the henhouse was simply too great! As we dragged the family along, Mamma’s foot or a baby’s wing or an entire chick itself would get caught between the thatch and the path, and we would cringe on their behalf, cease our movement, and stare at the broiling remaining distance. By this time the sun was at its zenith, and Monica and I were drenched in sweat.
Still, we refused to concede. We took a moment to strategize over a glass of water, built a chicken-catching contraption with a basket, a couple sticks, and our own wit, and tried again. To no avail.
Maybe the idea was sent from elsewhere, but it struck us both at the same time: With the chickens in the basket, we shifted them over the sheet, wrapped the corners tightly to prevent any openings, and lifted everything. All five rascals were squawking and squealing, but they were sealed and transportable. We carried the chickens to their new home, shifted the basket on its side, with the sheet between the chickens and the henhouse door. Then, like two proud magicians, we let the sheet drop. Mamma, Thelma, Louise, Beatrice and Mammacas flew frantically into their new home.
We sealed the door just in time for Vasentha to arrive. She looked at us, standing and sweating beside the hen house. She looked at the Old Man, laughing from a distance. And she looked at the animals playing in the dirt within caged walls. “Super.”
Monica and I may get the hang of this after all.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
In turn, I spend long hours wondering if they’re doing their jobs, if I should be giving them more direction, and if so—how?
The nights before Vasentah comes, Monica and I agree upon which tasks we want her to do, then take turns assuming the responsibility of miming the messages to her the next morning.
And the Old Man? Forget about it. I’m in over my head.
But still, they look to me eagerly. They tell me things about the house and the forest and wait for my response. As if I have any clue.
This afternoon they were particularly animated. Something about cashew trees, branches of wood, and something above their heads. A bird was eating the cashews? Is that it? They mimed movement. People are stealing the wood?! What???
They dragged me to a couple sites on the land where bundles of cashew branches rested or where the earth was scarred from a recent fire. They gestured to the surrounding trees and leaves damaged by smoke. They pointed into the depths of the land and hollered wildly. Then they spewed more Tamil and waited for my reply. Four deep brown eyes staring at me. Two mouths biting lips in anticipation.
That’s when I cracked. I fell to my knees laughing hysterically, Gopal kissing my face, the sun beating sweat from every pore in my body. “I don’t know!” I cried through my incessant giggles. “I don’t know what you’re saying, and I don’t know what to do, and I just don’t know!”
The workers laughed too, but I’m not sure they knew why.
I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt and tears burst from my eyes. “I’ve lost it,” I muttered. “I’ve finally lost it.” I called out names of people who surely will not come soon.
Alas, I recovered. There’s a way to fix this, to understand, to explain. I just don’t know it yet. I marched to the kitchen and asked Vasentha for tea. And I learned another lesson in patience.
Everything in Auroville (And perhaps everywhere? It’s just more noticeable here?) happens in its own time, in its own way, and it’s all connected—if only you have faith that the answer will emerge in time. Only moments after I recovered from my fit, a friend who speaks Tamil happened to come by. I begged him to translate.
“They’re just telling you that there’s wood all over the land, not in one place, and tomorrow Vasentha will spend her day carrying it on her head to move it instead of helping indoors. Is that ok?”
I swallowed hard. It was my pride, I think. “So they not only know what they’re supposed to do, but they’re doing it?”
“I guess,” he responded, perplexed by the humor I seemed to find in the situation.
And I laughed some more. “Seri, seri!” I said to the workers. Ok, ok!
I’ll be better at Tamil long before I get better at charades.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The thing is, running a forest is a lot of work. Period.
Twenty acres is a lot of land. Period.
And there are animals to protect! Just this morning the villagers brought their dogs to collect cashews and—as they do almost every morning—the dogs chased the chickens. For the third time since June, one of the dogs succeeded in catching a poor bird, and I had to come with a stick to free the cock.
Plus, our Gop__ needs a lot of loving (which I’m more than happy to give) and company (which I spend simultaneous writing about watsu and/or complementary currencies). He’s just a puppy, after all…
And the cows come several times a day to eat the young trees and blooming flowers, and the house/kitchen/storeroom always offer improvement projects, and the workers—my God, the workers.
Everyday they try to teach me Tamil. However, the lessons include me repeating what they say without any clue what it means. We laugh a lot. Then they ask me serious things in Tamil and look at me with expectant eyes. I suddenly have to make a thoughtful decision based on a frantic stream of grunts and hollers which meant absolutely nothing to my ears. Sometimes we play charades, but I’ve always been bad at that game.
They look to me more and more for direction. I point and explain what needs to be done around the house. But in the forest? I clearly have no idea, and even if I did, the Old Man would have no idea what I’m saying.
Thus, after working on watsu and economics, between fighting village dogs and chasing cows, while tending to Lumière’s puppy and employees, I’m now researching Tropical … Forests and practicing Tamil online.
So, my fellow Americans, my only answer to you is: I’m keeping busy.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Why should the baby chickens be exempt?
Thus far, the chicks’ entire world existed only of the blue birthing bin, the protective basket, and a few futile glimpses of the storage shed corner as we changed the sand or water in their home. It was time to push their limits.
(Plus, the Steward of the Land suggested a chick expedition via skype… so I was simply following orders.)
I first let them out in the morning. They just emerged from the storeroom door when the Old Man ran over hollering, pointing to the sky, and herding them back into the protective den. Apparently there’s a giant gray bird that eats baby chickens if they come out too early in the morning. Seriously.
So we tried again at the zenith of the day. Voila—Thelma, Louise, Beatrice, and Momacas (she’s a bit fatter than the others)—you are free! Go forth and prosper!
And while we (mostly Monica) took their guardianship quite seriously…
Getting them back into the basket was the hard part. It consisted of using the basket as a shield and a giant stick as a sword, so I pranced around like a gladiator until they were successfully herded back into their tiny dominion.
Monday, July 13, 2009
A dear friend took me and the dog to the free vet for village dogs. What an incredible service! Walking through its beautiful gate, visitors find themselves in an open puppy playground with battered dogs full of life and hope. A three-legged beagle mix greeted us with protective barks and gentle kisses. Several mutts followed curiously in our wake. Others suffering from mange or broken limbs or whatever else were herded into the back field, where they can run and tussle and play. I was immediately relieved, and brought our street dog to the table.
“Ah, he’s not so bad,” the vet said.
I looked at the fly-infested, limping, bleeding dog and responded, “You must see a lot of suffering.”
She examined his wounds, weighed him, gave him a shot for worms, played with his feet and teeth and unmentionables. Here are the conclusions:
- He’s six to nine months old.
- He’ll be a big dog, judging by the size of his paws. Some German Shepard mix.
- He has mange and needs to be washed with special soap.
- He needs follow up worm pills.
- He needs to eat more. A lot more. He’s malnourished—probably because of the worms.
- He limps because he’s weak; as soon as the mange and worms go, he’ll be better.
- He’s already attached to us.
“Now,” she said, “the first step to healing is a name. What are you calling him?”
We each blurted out three different words.
“And that, I fear, will be your problem.”
Ok, ok... Gop__ it is?
Sunday, July 12, 2009
- I'm not his person. Dogs pick their person; we, also, are drawn to certain dogs. I was not drawn to Gopta nor him to me; we were united by extraneous circumstances and now must learn to like each other. We’re getting there. Slowly.
- He's old. I don't care what Raja said: This is not a puppy—it's a small-sized dog. His balls have dropped and he's stubborn. I'm not training a puppy; I'm teaching an old dog new tricks. Or trying to, at least.
- He's scared. Of everything. Including the chickens. (And eating… Every time I feed him he nibbles, jumps away, timidly returns, eats some more, and continues as such until the bowl is empty.)
- He doesn't bark. How can you noiselessly defend a house?
- He won't chase the cows. Unless, of course, you count him chasing me as I chase the cows.
But I have faith if not patience. This poor pup had a hard life and survived something traumatic. In time, I hope, he’ll come around…
In the meantime, we’ll shower him with love and affection, heal and feed him, and try try try to make him the Defender of Lumière and Protector of Plants!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
There was an old, black-skinned Tamilian—hardened from a life of physical labor and wrinkled from years in the sun.
There a computer—equipped with the latest software and top-of-the-line gadgets.
The Old Man sat in front of the computer, wearing a loin-cloth and USB earphones, skyping his boss half-a-world away.
We had to take pictures... ;)
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I listened to the sounds of the land. “Hear what?”
“That creepy noise that’s definitely not a cow.”
Yup. Yup, I heard it. And there was nothing me, Monica, or an injured old watchman that my grandfather could beat up could do about it. (In all fairness, my grandfather’s in remarkable health for 80.)
“We really, really need a dog,” I said.
“A big dog,” she replied.
Hours earlier, across Auroville…
Raja had just finished dinner with his family when his eldest brother marched in. “I need some leftover food.”
“You don’t have enough?” his mother asked, full of concern.
“It’s not for me; it’s for this damn dog that won’t get out from under my porch.”
“Dog?” Raja’s ears perked up.
So his brother told the story: A few days ago he—a mere puppy—was chased by bigger village dogs, and now he’s broken and bleeding in the sand near Brother’s house and refuses to move.
So suddenly we have a guard dog in need of serious mending… and a name.
Monday, July 6, 2009
But the land needs a dog. For example...
These days there are always strangers on the land. Dozens a day, from early morning until the heat becomes to much to bear. They come to pick cashews, but they wander too close to the house, use our water tap, sit in the kitchen. They ignore Raja’s request to keep away from our space and stick to the cashews.
One day Raja cracked. He was sick of the villagers coming too near, so he walked inside and concocted a plan.
He download sounds of dogs barking from the internet. And he played them, over and over, all the while shouting at his “dog.”
Slowly, slowly, the people moved away.
He told me this story after an afternoon of chasing cows. Out of breath, I could only reply: “Can we train our fake dog to herd cows too?”
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Congratulations to Martanda for his second "flower"--a beautiful baby girl!
And that's not all. Today, as every day, I walked to the Old Man's room near which I park my bike. Today, as every day, I said my hello. But today, instead of the every day polite nod I usually receive in response, he eagerly jumped from his bed and ran to my side. Never have I seen such a smile! He was radiating joy and pride and I couldn't figure out why.
Until he started touching my hair, pointing towards Two Dams, and making funny movements with his hands to show a big belly and something pushing down. His baby girl had a baby of her own!
So the Old Man and the Steward are cherishing the treasure of new life in (relatively) far off places. Congrats to you both!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Apparently the shadows hid more than sleeping bugs last night. Somewhere in the bushes lurked a wild cat, and his hungry eye was on the chickens. While the chickens' protectors slept soundly, the cat pounced--snatching away a beautiful white hen in its blood-thirsty fangs!
But the Old Man isn't too old. He sprung from his bed and approached the vicious cat with a big stick and only mild intimidation. It was one wild creature versus another, and with flaring arms and bizarre shouts, the Old Man frightened the beast away.
But not in time. The hen lay wounded on the ground, blood staining its precious feathers. The Old Man scooped the poor damsel up, nestled her in his arms, and walked away slowly. He soothed the creature, wrapped her in bandages, gave her the love and attention any old bird needs.
And today, she's walking with her chicken comrades across the Land.
No wildcat will get us down.