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Another winter on its way
Another year spent waiting
Ahead long nights, cold days
More lonely morning wakings

Promise of new life lies ahead
When spring returns in time
Hoping the wait may end
Once winter turns again

And so the years pass by
While nothing really changes
My dreams turn into memories
And fade in summer’s hazes

One day even the children leave
To search for lives of happiness
While I will watch them knowingly
With gladness and regrets…

21 March 2010, © Suzy Gneist

My sons are both artists. They amaze me with their impromptu creations.

This holiday they spent a morning waiting for me at writing class, slowly getting bored, and the result was another of Arran’s beautiful perishable flower and leaf designs. He has created a series of these over the last few years.

Today he started a new canvas – a contemplation of our solar system. It followed one he had done previously – an abstract spotty colourful mixed media.

Every child is an artist – and we were all children… once.

Boredom often gives rise to creativity. Let your children get bored and see where it takes them.

In Lak’esh

My Grandma Elisabeth

The house was tiny. The front room glassed in, a bench followed three sides where adults gathered around the table all day to talk, smoke and drink – they stayed for hours once they were wedged in. Outside the window was the pear tree with bottles hanging on the forming pears to be harvested in autumn for granddad’s special pear schnapps.

Walking through to the dark back room, the bed sofa stood up against the back wall where my grandparents would sleep when they stayed here on weekends and during summer. To the right a narrow kitchen corner and wood stove and a secret trapdoor under the carpet. Down there in the clammy dark granddad kept his “Bocks” beer cold – very strong stuff – alongside a few bottles of sweet malt beers for the grand kids or the alcoholic ingredients for his annual woodruff punch.

As kids we got to visit them often at this little house on their garden plot, it was only a short walk from home. Plum, cherry, peach, pear and apple trees; strawberries, gooseberries, tomatoes and roses – an abundance of colour and food right in the centre of the city.

The toilet was outside and behind the wood shed, next to the compost heap at the back of the little hut. A composting loo – a big dark bucket which got emptied once a year into the prepared tomato trench. I remember my visiting cousin losing his appetite for tomato sandwiches after I explained the secret of grandma’s delicious tomatoes to him…

In winter granddad was often out the back splitting logs, his shirt off and the axe going up and coming down on the big scarred stump, the pile of firewood growing to keep them warm through the night when we’d be back at home again tucked into our cozy beds.

From my Childhood Memories, © Suzy Gneist 2010

From my Permaculture Musings, September 2007 ©

Everyone and everything is connected. Every individual human – thinking himself independent – is part of a living web and those who are part of an unharmonious web, those that have to work and live with others who aren’t like-minded, struggle to find the happy balance they need to make an impact on the web of the world.

This is why the “world wide web” is not in harmony right now – it needs to be broken into effective groups which can heal each part and so heal the whole. Making a harmonious web together with those who are like-minded – this is what we have to do – and we all have to build these individual webs of like-minded interdependent groups and all these webs together make a harmonious web across the whole world, each is separate from the others, but living in complete acceptance with all, each next to its neighbours giving stability to hold together the whole.

It isn’t independence that is important, it is the right kind of dependence, the kind that gives each individual the space and support to be individual while being part of a group that depends on each individual for its wholeness. We are not meant to stand on our own at all, we are meant to find a way to live closely and intimately with others while deeply honouring their individuality. We are not here to make everyone like ourselves or change them in any way, we are naturally different to compliment each other and make something that is larger than the sum of its parts.

This is what nature does. All trees of one kind form a spiritual group across the world, but in each space there are trees and plants and animals of different kinds forming a web of dependence that supports the whole of the ecosystem. This is why monocultures are unhealthy – even though the plants are all from the same family, they cannot form a healthy web without all the other parts that are different but harmonious to them, so the entire group becomes unharmonious and imbalanced and none of the trees reach their highest potential and they impact on their worldwide group in this unharmonious way and can affect other trees in other places in time too.

Most of mankind is unhappy for the same reason: We live in monocultures, with our “same” kind, working in the same fields, eating the same foods, living in the same way as those around us, but the web is unhealthy because there is too much sameness and not enough variety. There is an expectation that if everyone is the same there will be harmony, but it is not so.

We make our children into rows of straight trees through an education system that does not value differences, individuality or creativity. We fertilise them and provide them with a “balanced” diet and wonder why they do not thrive.

Even as individuals we are most strongly attracted to others who are in many respects opposites to us. Yet most people try to make even our partners, chosen for their difference, into something that is the same as us. Why? It is the differences that make us individual and honouring these differences makes for a stronger whole. It adds to where we are deficient ourselves, and we add our strengths to the partnership.

We mostly live in unhealthy webs which join other unhealthy webs and make the world also unhealthy. We need to group together those that “fit” together and make many new healthy webs across the world to heal the whole and keep it in balance.

The secret to individual happiness is to be interdependent with those who jointly form a harmonious web and make us feel safe and supported in the balanced environment this creates. We aren’t meant to do it all on our own, we’re meant to use our individual strength and perception to act in a conscious way and build the environment we need to feel supported in our endeavour to add our own important part of the whole, not only of humanity but the world.

In Lak’esh

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All photographs, words and artworks in this blog are original and all rights are reserved by the author, © S Gneist. Please ask before reproducing any of my work.

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