What I Meant to Say

Wendy Babiak's Visions and Revisions

What I Did This Summer


It’s not quite over, but it’s winding down. Goldenrod paints a bright yellow swath across the view from Plantation Road where in a few months snow will shine bright through the bare trees. 

I’m just a couple of weeks past completing the Permaculture Design Course out at Cayuta Sun Farm with the Fingerlakes Permaculture Institute. This was our classroom:Image



Which was amazing, even with the rain and the mosquitoes. If I had had a classroom like that in my previous learning experiences, I might have considered going on to grad school. What is the opposite of Nature Deficit Disorder? Nature Surplus Disorder? When I got back I had it bad, missing something fierce all that rain-washed green. This was my ceiling at which I gazed at rest:





(That dappled pattern moved.) At night I played my flute in a call and respond with night birds and coyotes. When it rained hard on the tent (for which my waterproofing proved adequate, yay!), I could play with my whole belly and not imagine being overheard.

It’s a Ravensong flute, and I have to say that I’m really, really pleased with it. I played it a little at the talent show, with which the first week of the course ended. How cool is that, that every PDC has to have a talent show? They figured if we’re going to put forward ideas as counter to the mainstream as many of those advocated by Permaculture (capture my waste stream, really?), we’d better be able to get up in front of our peers and do something scary. I recited my poem “Woman With A Broom,” and made a little speech about the flute tradition, and played. Do something every day that scares you, I’m told. 

Speaking of scary, I rode out there on my bike, loaded down with stuff (not all of it! Thanks again to Karryn for carrying some of the heaviest). It was hard, and awkward, with a high center of gravity. But I made it. And felt like a hero when I made it. Karryn, one of the teachers at the PDC and a FLPC co-founder, talks about our comfort zone, our challenge zone, and our danger zone. Different for everyone, and even for the same individual, they can fluctuate. So the trick is to widen our comfort zone by challenging ourselves and moving out into our challenge zone, being cautious not to cross into our danger zone (something I’m still trying to figure out, but I got better as the course progressed).

Tomorrow I’m going to pick up a bushel of peaches from a farmer (Melissa at Good Life) whose farm we toured, and then can them up (whatever the family doesn’t eat fresh in the next few days) with cardamom. And soon I’ll be sharing an interview with Wendy Jenahara Tremayne, whose book, The Good Life Lab, (isn’t serendipity a lovely thing?) you should hunt down and read, if you’re interested in making your own good life. And why wouldn’t you be?

Here, I’ll spare you the hunt:



Buy it right from the press.


Author: Wendy Babiak

Poet, permaculturalist, lay Carmelite. Pretty sure the world needs more love and less politics.

2 thoughts on “What I Did This Summer

  1. Reading this is like watching the fast-motion growth of a seed into an amazing idea. Thank you!

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