My house was broken into a few weeks ago. They kicked in the door, stole the jewelry box, and hightailed it out in approximately 2 minutes, or so says the local cops who came to investigate when I called it in. They called it a grab and smash - only easily pawnable jewelry - not computers, tvs or other such traceable, serial numbered stuff.
It took a few days to see the beauty in it all. The retired, constantly home neighbors who texted me that a strange car was in my driveway while I was a work, then that my door was left open. Another neighbor who called a carpenter friend who sent his crew over in less than an hour to nail the door casing back into place so that I wasn't in a house with a front door that wouldn't close. The young hottie beautiful neighbor who called me over that night to hang out and drink and smoke greenery and compare stories past of stolen stuff. A super friendly agent and super efficient insurance company that paid the claim in less than 24 hours of filing. But mostly it was about the deeper permaculture of it all.
One of the aspects of permaculture that I love the most is how it uses everything. There is no such thing as waste. Or rather, if you have waste, you're not doing it right.
Permaculture looks for loops, circles, spirals instead of lines. If something is being carted off your land, out of your life, this is a line, and it's because the stuff is viewed as pollution that needs to be removed. Sure, one person's trash is another's treasure, and there is absolutely value in this (I have a friend who's a freegan who is going to teach me the fine art of dumpster diving and show me this principal in motion, which is awesome). But at the microcosm level, it is likely a signal that a loop needs to be closed.
For example, in my backyard, which is set on a slope, rainwater rushes from the highpoint on the northeast, erodes the soil in a direct path all the way down to the southwest, where overflow then floods my neighbor's yard. Also, my annual beds, planted in the southmost area of the yard - the only area that gets ample sunlight - needed to be watered from the municipal water supply fed hose last year, and because I didn't have the time and energy to put in a drip line, was watered from the top which contributed to the powdery mildew that took over the melons and squash.
So to get water from where it is "pollution" to where it is "yield" I researched and then created a diversionary swale with a ~1 foot berm. It cuts diagonally across the land, using gravity to push it along, until it hits small breaks in the swale with smaller berms directing it into several points along the length of the annual beds, with the far end opening into the woods at the edge of my land so that any big excesses don't flood the annual beds but go into the forest which will happily lap it up.
This is the raw, newly created diversionary swale and berm:
With two days of solid rain coming, it'll soon be easy to see how much water is moving and where so the swales and berms can be tweaked if necessary. Then the berm can be filled with and the swale covered in wood chips to help with the safety of a trench running through the middle of the yard, as well as keeping the water channel open and moving.
So, see? From pollution to yield.
The thing with jewelry is that most everyone sees it as "yield". But in fact, my jewelry had identified itself as "pollution" just a few months ago. All of it except for one necklace and one pair of earrings, both of which I had on when the burglary occurred, so are now the only pieces of jewelry that I have.
So, yeah, the jewelry was taken, along with the big wooden music box it was all stored in. And also, Calhoon and Cassidy's ashes, which were likely taken because they were in a silk jewelry pouch next to the jewelry box, although maybe the last earthly remains of Grandma Booty and The Hoon were snorted that night alongside some shots of Thunderbird, a sort of new age feline cocaine to add weaselly love to the party.
Also gone were the diamond earrings and ring, heirlooms from my great grandmother from when my ancestors had homes and servants and an island. Plus earrings, rings and bracelets from girlfriends and boyfriends and clients long gone past. Crystal pendant and stone stuff I'd bought myself over the years. Random bits of saved metal and crystal. All of it: pollution.
Even the ashes were pollution, because half of them had been sprinkled across the garden beds last year, and the half that remained only served as a focal point for the occasional lament of loved ones gone. And who needs that when the truth is that all stuff - animal, vegetable, mineral, mental, emotional or spiritual - is on its way to somewhere else and we are dang lucky if some love stuff stops and hangs with us for a while?
One of my favorite things to do is smoke greenery, drink homegrown wine coolers (wine, fresh fruit, club soda run through the vitamix, then topped with lime squeezings) and walk around my house and land until some sort of art/permaculture/hijinks occurs. Sometimes I dance in the mostly empty living room, sometimes naked running through the rain in the backyard. Other times I move furniture in a feng shui frenzy. About six months ago, I put dozens of holes in my bathroom walls, inserted decorative nails and hooks, then emptied my jewelry box out onto them.
I thought it would be beautiful, all sorts of sparkly things surrounding me whenever I took another aromatherapy bath or brushed my teeth or peed with the ever present kitty sitting on my lap. But instead, it was just a bunch of memories of folks come and gone, because I never wore any of it anymore, not in years. So a couple months ago, I took it all down, replaced it with some odd twisty branches, some colored headbands, and a fox skull found while out in the forest.
For a few weeks, I made myself wear some of the rings, put on a necklace for a few hours. But it all felt uncomfortable, as if it imprisoned me in some visceral way. And so I shut the jewelry box lid and only kept out the one jade pendent and green glass earrings that I always wore on the few times a week I felt like wearing something.
And a couple of months later the door was kicked in, the stuff was made off with, the cops came, a report was filed, an insurance claim was submitted, and the pollution transformed itself into yield with the arrival of a large claim settlement check, enough to live on for two months. Considering the fact that I just quit my job, to me this was proof that the beauty of pollution to yield was Life saying: hey, girl, I still got your back.
Permaculture is transforming my land, and along with it, my living. Who knows what will bloom this season?