I sit in the classroom at Finca Bambú, the Atititlán Organics Farm, and listen to Shad Qudsi and Jeremy Fellows share their water wisdom.
They share about how humans are natural born water harvesters. They remind the group of our role on the planet to be in service to water, as we are mostly made up of it, as are the plants we eat all around us. They liken us to the wolves, and how they teach us fulfill our role by their example.
Quasi tells the story of the wolves in this video. He explains how the wolves fulfill their natural role to meet the needs of the ecosystem by hunting deer. The deer population is controlled, and then the plants growing by the river (that the deer ate) grow abundantly. Then the river shifts course, and the entire hydrology of the habitat changes.
The wolves act accordance to the natural flow of life energy, and support the health of the water cycle by doing so.
He asks, can we too act in accordance with these natural energy patterns to support the cycling of clean, accessible water on our planet? Can we meet our needs in a way that also meets the needs of the ecosystem, like the wolves? Can we interact with the earth in a way that supports her, feeds her, nourishes her?
Absolutely, say Fellows and Qudsi. When we pee outside, we contribute to the soil storage. When we sweat, we contribute to the evaporation. It is our role as humans to be an integrated part of the water cycle.
We are a part of the water cycle. Nature can benefit when we interact consciously with our environment.
Deep inside, I recognize these teachings as my own perception of truth. I remember how to connect to my stream of awareness, where I know how to take care of water, I know how to create landscapes that support water, and I know how to work with others to achieve this way of life.
"When did I forget this knowledge?" I wonder to myself. I doodle the symbol on the flyer for the Water Permaculture Workshop Series in my notebook: the upward and downward spiral. To me, it means the spiraling energy streams of the universe that are creative or destructive, positive or negative, birthing or dying.
The knowledge they share in the classroom helps me to remember my ability to decide my trajectory: creative or destructive. I feel like I'm sitting in the middle point, still and clear, with the ability to choose my next reality from a multitude of amazing possibilities. My vibration heightens, and I buzz with excitement inside.
Maybe it's the fresh chili from the garden I taste with my teeth and tongue. Maybe it's the 3 comfrey leaves I wash it down with. Or the mint flower honey nectar for an early morning dessert. My body digests these plants into my bloodstream. All plants carry information from the sun, the wind, the earth, and the water.
Maybe the feeling I got, the excitement of being open to shifting into a beautiful reality where life flows easily and naturally: maybe these are messages from the plants.
Or maybe it's the passionfruit blooming nearby, or the bees carrying the pollen from every bloom in the valley. Or, you know what, it could still be that I’m feeling the high from the energy of Lake Atitlán, even after living here three and a half moons. (Come to think of it, maybe I’m still buzzing from landing here on Earth in a body and all. These things excite me, you know, even after 23 cycles around the sun.)
No matter what the cause, the effect is clear: I feel inspired and clear sitting in the classroom with Fellows and Quasi, teachers of the Permaculture Water Series at Atitlán Orgnaics in Tzununá, Guatemala. I feel amazed at how easily possible it is to create healthy systems for water to grow in any landscape. I feel inspired to follow through with my hands and heart to create the micro and macro environments where water can grow.
I also feet a deep call to action, a necessity to act in this way, to support the natural energy pattern of the water cycle. Water can kills us or give us life. We come from the amniotic waters of our mother, and we can die in a landslide, tsunami, hurricane, or just from lake of clean drinking water.
So, the question is, how do we create more accessible, clean water for drinking, washing, and farming? For all of life to continue in a beautiful way?
These are four teachings I learned from Fellows and Qudsi at the Permaculture Water Series from Atitlán Organics to create more water by increasing the amount of accessible water cycling in an environment.
Slow it, Spread it, Sink it. Filter the water as much as you can through the landscape. You want the water to be on your land for as long as possible, and you want to create as much distance for it to cycle through as possible.
Plant more trees. Trees seed clouds. Clouds make it rain. Simple enough.
- Cover crop and mulch. You want to intercept the rain on the way down from the sky so when it hits the earth, it makes it nice and soft and gentle so the plants can soak it up and not get pummeled by the torrential downpour.
- Dance. When you dance on dry dirt, the dirt gathers in clouds, which makes the air heavy, and then it rains. Rain dancing is science. (Yeah, I know, this is amazing).
The most important teaching that I learned is the myth that we don't have enough water. We just don’t have enough fresh water cycling in certain parts of the earth right now. And how do we fix it? Well, we can create spaces for water to cycle in micro climates with the above teachings. And once you learn how to read the language, to think like water, you can landscape for the water. You can create landscapes that attract an accessible flow of water, thus "increasing" the pure water in your environment.
And that's a wonderful thing to learn on a cloudy Monday morning on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. I am grateful to receive and share these teachings with you.
Check out Atitlán Organics on FB and visit their website here. They are open to collaborations with the Water Permaculture Series in the future and would like to develop a working knowledge of how to work with landscapes to grow water around Lake Atitlán. There are many people who are Permaculture certified traveling through and living around the Lake, and this is a great opportunity to gather, share, and learn in depth, together. They have three more workshops scheduled for every Monday in March, and hope to continue the series in 2016.
About the Author: Lily Rothrock loves water. She founded Porpoise Endorphin in 2015 to blog about wholehearted living. Read more about Lily.