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A Time for Putting Something Back

The ancient Book of Ecclesiastes teaches us “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” In five years’ time, I shall be seventy-four. My time will be running out as I look back down the years. The next five are perhaps my last opportunity to put things right. This not only about aging: Any one of us could die at any time. All time is precious.

Simple Horizontal Sundial: S E Wilco: CC 3.0
Simple Horizontal Sundial: S E Wilco: CC 3.0

King Solomon, who wrote Ecclesiastes 2,500 years ago, may have been one of the wisest people who ever lived. The quote continues with his list of wise, and foolish, things that we could do with time:


A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot
A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter and a time to gather, a time to embrace, a time to refrain
A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war, and a time for peace.

I have added one more to Solomon’s list and hope to make it my personal mantra. “There is a time to take,” I believe, “and a time to return the gift.” My ambition is to look back after five years and say, “I reversed the flow. I have been giving something back to Mother Nature”.

How Much We Could Do in 99 Days?

I really want to recommend this video when you have twelve minutes to spare. Justin Rhodes has been applying permaculture principles on his smallholding for 99 days. He is already producing 75% of the food for himself, his wife, and three kids. His suggestions are practical and most are cheap and easy to implement. For example, his moves the chicken run every few weeks, and plants a fresh crop of vegetables in the earth the birds fertilised for him.

That is Interesting, But I Could Not Possibly Do That

I will let that comment pass if you have sufficient reason but not off the hook completely. Even if I lived in a retirement home, I could still grow a tomato plant on my windowsill. In my case, my state of health would prevent me from following Justin’s example. However, there are still things I could do to give something back to nature.

I have discovered the Permaculture Institute is a wonderful source of information. This helps close knowledge gaps, and eliminate things that prevent us from changing course. I wish I were young enough to take their Permaculture Design Certificate. I want to know what I need to do to redesign my life, and how to do it.

My Goals for the Next Five Years

I am a writer. I write about many things on the internet, some commercial, some for inspiration. For example, I write a blog for a battery manufacturer. From time to time, I write a green article, to teach people there are alternatives to fossil fuel and global warming. In five years’ time, I hope to look back on other small contributions I have made to the permaculture cause with pride.

I judge it important to incorporate my values in my daily living. I am hoping to build sustainable living into every fibre of my life. There is a lot more to this than recycling household refuse into different coloured bins, although this is important too.

Recycling Post in Portugal: N Ricardo: CC 3.0
Recycling Post in Portugal: N Ricardo: CC 3.0

I want to move away from disposing of my refuse responsibly, to not creating any refuse where possible. I am stopping purchasing packed fruit and vegetables. I want to buy them loose and pop them into a linen shopping bag. I hope to make organic compost from the peelings. I want to incorporate green into all of me.

As you can see by how successful Justin is, with the solid knowledge foundation of a PDC, so much is possible. I too hope to grow myself a permaculture garden, along these graceful lines.

Permaculture Garden: Claire Gregory: CC 3.0
Permaculture Garden: Claire Gregory: CC 3.0

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