Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bird singing at the bottom of a lake

The beautiful photo above, by Simon du Vinage, is of South Lake at Tamera, southern Portugal, where a group of us from about fifteen different countries did an Earth Exchange last summer. Tamera is a community, "a healing biotope", a living experiment in sustainable permaculture, an educational center, and a remarkable place where people truly work to match their practices to their ethics. They've created several lakes in the past few years with remarkable results... springs bubbling up from dry, cracked ground; animals and birds coming to visit; plentiful plant growth. But after this particular lake was dug, the rains of 2011 did not come, and the land was dry.
This photo, by Carsten Dolcini, shows our Earth Exchange last August. We are standing on the bottom of the lake! Everyone put a stone into the center of the circle, naming as they did so a place they loved that they are concerned about. We spent some time exploring the land, discovering such amazing things as frogs inhabiting the puddle in the background and the velvetiness of the cracked earth beneath our feet. Then we made a big bird out of stone.

You can imagine that a bird made simultaneously by forty people would look a bit odd. Some people thought it was too disproportioned, pudgy, and that we should redo it. No, said others, it's perfect! One woman added that it had to be plump so it can float under the water!

So now it is doing so! The rains came last fall, and the bird is singing under the water. My friend Silke Paulick, coordinator of the ecological team at Tamera, also writes that South Lake has become more of a community gathering place since our ceremony.

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