Like many people I know and work with, I’m looking for where I can help, the most, in our current situation. I make good use of my time – volunteering in online organisations doing important work like Deep Adaptation, building a local economy slowly and with joy in the neighbourhood where I live, spending as much time as I can with my family. Other stuff too, like gardening and growing food and helping others with seeds, and advice, collecting seeds, preserving food.

Staying in place, but growing and learning.

My garden view

Around me there’s constant change as our complex society tries to keep the road to infinite profits, open.

On a hillside I can see, the new tollroad (12 years young) is falling off a clay slope optimistically cut in half to keep the road slope level – to save energy long term I guess, building it must have been hellish expensive. Engineers and huge lorries full of rocks and cement products have been working day and night, for over 7 months now, to force it to stay up – literally glueing car civilisation on the landscape where it won’t stick.

My garden on the other hand, is full of young trees that grow every day, Spring leaves emphasise how much larger they are. A little irrigation, some compost as mulch was all I’ve added. Free sunshine and rain with love from Mother Nature. They are well embedded in the landscape and are changing this area – an orchard of mulberries, peaches and apples, cherries, almonds, and quince. Indigenous chestnut, oak, cork, and pine trees forming a solid and ancient frame. The wild birds and I will compete for the fruit, and they will win as there are increasing numbers of them on this piece of land. The pollinator insects are still in a feeding frenzy among the blossoms. Vegetables, herbs, flowers and weeds enjoy the shade. The soil around them is moist through the year, and the winter frosts are lessened by their increasing presence.

There is a sense of certainty and goodwill in the growing trees, while the noisy dusty roadworks ongoing in the background imbue a frantic and annoying sense of loss and frustration. They are spending millions of euros trying to ensure that road stays level, I hardly spent anything creating the space for these beautiful trees.

A road is a temporary pathway from one space, to another. A few roman roads still run straight through villages and rural areas here in Portugal. But thousands of old cork oaks, and ancient olive trees, continue to support many other species, holding their places beautifully in the landscape here, attesting the fortitude of Nature – gardened, or not.

Plant trees.

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