As a warning to you, they say it is never too late to learn, but sometimes it might be.
"Let us then be up and doing,
with a heart for any fate;
still achieving, still pursing,
learn to labor and to wait."
These are lines in "A Psalm of Life" written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Memorizing that entire poem was the challenge my mother took on after her first stroke. She was determined to learn that poem by heart and she did.
Since I was born of parents who challenged themselves to continue learning as they grew older what am I learning? I wanted to learn more about permaculture and do something with it, here where I live and with what is learned, figure out how to make a dent in the damaged places that surround a bunch of us in northeast Oklahoma. This past spring Indigenous Agriculture and Permaculture was offered at NSU with the first class Saturday right before Oklahoma shut down for COVID-19. It was a long day with a series of great instructors including our own Kelda Lorax.
As it turned out that was the only in-class meeting we have been able to have together. It took months to reconvene virtually. So almost every morning at 10 a.m. I Zoom to learn the intricacies of permaculture. Homework assignments are delightful. Draw a plant and label its parts and uses for the plant, dig a hole and another hole and find out the types of soil on the site I have chosen.
But listen the next thing is going to keep me busy for awhile. I am building my Base Map.
I have learned how to look at USDA/NRCS to find out the soil types on my property, I have found my site online and measured the size of my home and out building without a tape measure. I have learned my elevation and the degree of slope occurring here.
When deciding where to build my house all those years ago, I lined it up with the creek that runs below the home at the bottom of a steep gully. And now I can see the place is lined up N-S pretty well.
I am identifying the plants and the trees before the leaves all fall off and naming the microclimates here on the property, the pine forest, the stand of sassafras, the prairie proper and the ferns living and competing with the invasive honeysuckle on the slopes of the hill.
The Base Map is what is here, but listen the fun part is Part 2 of the class. Part 2 is the Project. What do I wish would be different on the property. Will what I want to plant flourish in partial shade? How will I deal with drainage issues?
Right now I am focused on the Permaculture class and picking up and practicing Cherokee.
But it has brought me back to the Base Map. Finding out more about where I am, the layers of information on this space is allowing me to truly know where I am, knowing more about where we are, the slope, the type of soils can help us as a community plan our growth, of housing and industry. How the land lays can determine if the next bill we receive will be for flood insurance.
We need to know our Base Map as a community. And knowing this allows us to determine our risk for flooding. But the unknown is how political power can be used to put many more properties in peril with the floods that will follow the anticipated rise of the lake in the future. The City of Miami fought and I am sure we will never know the amount of money they had to spent to get the professional assessments to fight like hell to protect life and property.
The City may not be able to but I am as a citizen going to say, sometimes elections have consequences and the next big rise in the lake level can be blamed on the way, yes the way some people in Ottawa County have voted. You get another chance November 3 to vote, you might want to consider checking out who is running for Senate and really ask yourself does that person want to serve this community or want to FLOOD US?
I am basing you back to reality. Climate change is said to be bringing ever more intense rain and drought events, you and I can have little effect on this in our lifetimes. But we do have the power to elect officials who may not want to intentionally want to flood us.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim