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  • Jackie Skrypnek

Start Where We Are

INDIGENOUS: "produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a

particular region or environment"

"Someone who learns to use all their senses to carefully observe nature and

people before making judgements, use intuition and subtle sensing instead

of reductionist thought to make choices and guide relationships, articulate

and adhere to goals and priorities, and pragmatically mimic the elegant

and effective patterns found in natural ecosystems and in organisms, this

person is almost indigenous. When this approach transforms that person

into a hopelessly love-struck human who wants more than anything else to

serve the village and serve the bigger story of life as visible in the body of the

earth around them, then I think that person is indigenous."

-Zev Friedman


Hereabouts B&B isn't just a harebrained idea to cram some accommodation rental into our yard in the hopes of making a few bucks. It stems from a desire to engage more viscerally with earth and place.

The way I see it, it starts with where we are now. Many of us dream of having a quiet little piece of land where we can live more simply, grow our own food, and get back in touch with nature's cycles. But for various reasons, maybe we find ourselves here in the city (or town). It may be that the cost of land is prohibitively expensive or the commute to our jobs would prove too long if we went rural. It may be that the ready company a town offers or the ability to walk/bike nearly everywhere are enough to keep us urban. But whether we find the rural life out of reach or we've chosen urban living for the benefits it provides, we need not let the essence of our dream die. We can start where we are.

Even squeezed tightly in a city lot there is earth to be found and nature's processes at work. We can meet nature here and set to work. We can remember that we too are creatures of this earth and that, in fact, what it means to be human involves this relationship. It's empowering to learn how to sustain ourselves from our little patch of ground and be agents of regeneration while we're at it.

For starters, just think of what sustenance nature is already persistently providing us right outside our doors. The digestive-stimulating and liver-cleansing dandelion? A first green in the spring - free and ubiquitous! The vitamin C-laden first tender evergreen tips? A post-winter citrus-resin awakening to the tastebuds! The antioxidant deliciousness of some berry - saskatoon, currant, pincherry, rosehip? A neighbour's crabapples presenting themselves over the fenceline? Ready for our eating out-of-hand or saving for later, in jars or freezer.

But then think of how much more would eagerly surge forth if we set head and hand to it. With some careful thought as to which plants will thrive together and where, how to gently guide rainwater to them, and the return of nutrients to the soil (as a forest does), we're suddenly far more engaged with the earth and reaping the fruits of that partnership.

For centuries explorers, philosophers, and scientists have sought to understand the cosmos and our place in them. We continue to explore distant planets and universes for understanding and even potential new homes, but is it possible that our humanity in this age is more apt to be found by digging deeply into the earth beneath our feet? Is the most illuminating thing we can do to rekindle a relationship with this place we already inhabit?

That's what our yard and B&B are about. Getting to know this place we live in more deeply and becoming members of it. Using the space we have in a way that brings more diversity and richness, both human and non-human. We hope to inspire and be inspired, to relate more fully with people and place. This place here...or Hereabouts.

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