An epic journey in ecological self-fulfillment
Sustainable Living in Action series – Creating calm from conundrum
It was finally time to do physical work around the property we inhabit, again. Chores of this sort we do not consider an everyday duty, so that they can never wear down on us. We guard physical work as pleasure activity, so we can pour all of our attention and passion into it. Seems as though everyone, always would benefit the most from, take the most out of labor when it is well balanced with creative mental work and relaxation. Labor itself is most pleasurable if it is of creative character, where intuition and mind can satisfy a recognized need for innovation, if not innovation, then the drive for a job well done, beautifully carried out, a work of art in a way.
And the work that chose me, us, with an irrefusable beckoning, was the continuation of the creek clean-up project we voluntarily took on at the back of our rental property. Clean it up as well as if it was (already) running in our backyard. All water bodies deserve this approach, which is a bit illusionary, in the sense that land (and water) owns us, not the other way around, yet we humans can relate to a healthy sense of pride in private ownership. This moves us. This typically moves us more than, say, volunteering in someone else’s project. We want to do the best, we wish the best for ourselves, which may come across as selfish (and at times it may be), but in the case of work done well, is rather proof of earnest selflessness, since its motivation, intention is to pass on a keepsake legacy – all the while one should understand the dynamic character of balance in the world (in nature). That the fruit of our labor can be washed away or covered up by the next torrential rain.
The love that we had invested in our work, however, cannot be annihilated. The place, the waterway, for instance, will always remember our gesture and the spiritual bond will persist.
The unconditioned love invested into our former farmland in southeastern Hungary, where everything we did to the land we did with an utmost respect, for eight pleasurable homesteading years, will always remain a fond memory to us – and to the land too, we believe. Her gratitude was continuously expressed by the teeming wildlife that could regard our land a safe haven in all four seasons. Deer ate from underneath of our cherry plum, rabbits took pleasure in the garden’s sage bushes in the dead of winter and, on our last day there, a grey heron strolled calmly across in front of the open kitchen door, as if in farewell to us.
So, off I went, just myself at first, put my boots on, grabbed my work gloves (not the naturally tanned organic leather ones I wish for yet, but protective nonetheless), wheelbarrow, a garbage sack and headed to the backside steep slope of the property, at the base of which the stream snakes towards the village.
As is, the stream shows an ambivalent picture, that of an abused, under-appreciated beautiful soul, that bears the undue weight of years-worth of neglect. We cannot take it, cannot allow this maltreatment to continue, so little by little, investing the same love we have always invested in a land that we have mutually chosen each other with, are gradually returning the creek to her former glory. By-gone, perhaps, but not irreversibly. True, we are talking about a stretch of eighty to a hundred meters only, the segment under our care.
The patch we dealt with at this time, initially looked much like what you see in the picture below. Woody debris, garbage in a multi-generational tangle, mixed with ashes of former attempts of doing a so-called clean-up.
Our approach in a messy situation like this is to remove more than absolutely necessary, just to be sure. And so we did, whatever the naked eye could pick up as foreign and unfitting, was sacked. The brush we chopped up and stockpiled in the woodshed. Because Cheryl and Csermely joined me to finish off the job. Cheryl as a green thumb, planting some willow branches found on the site, already rooting and leafing out from the moisture of the creek babbling by. Now we offered them a smaller peninsula as habitat. Turning a conundrum into calm. The rest is the job of the rain to arrange. And it beautifully does so as these words are written.
Csermely in the meanwhile enjoyed the coolness of the water just a couple of steps downstream, giving herself a refreshing bath, by the use of a fragrant broad leaf as bath towel, plucked straight from behind her on the bank. It was enchanting to see and hear her joyousness. That is exactly why we have done the work and will continue doing it year after year. The kind of glee sans souci. And, naturally, the water sans souci.
What one removes is no longer there – a soothing reassurance to a hurt aethos, the insulted dignity. The dignity of the creek and all those connected to it on a life line.
Do you care for any surface or underground water body in particular? How exactly do you?