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Spring Come Early at Turtle Rock Farm

Our March Newsletter

Four two weeks
during the UN Climate Summit
we made a walk meditation
for Earth and all life
each morning. The last morning,
we left the grassy place we had walked
outside Angie Smith Chapel
on the Oklahoma City University campus,
and we drove north,
to The Great Salt Plains State Park
to see the Sand Hill Cranes.
We thought it a fitting place
to be
at the close of the UN Climate Summit talks—
at Salt Plains Bay
watching Sand Hill Cranes
on an unseasonably warm
and beautiful
December day.
We heard them long
before we saw them.
It was a bubbling,
perhaps gurgling,
sound,
loud. They were standing
in the sunlight
along the bay shoreline.
Several hundred of them.
But there were many more—
40,000—out and about,
feeding.
Creamy gray and white,
with black tips on their wings
that we could only see
when they took flight,
which they did,
to our delight.

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Too, we watched two bald eagles
in a tree above the cranes.
And we walked the nature trail,
alongside the marsh,
beside twittering sparrows—
sighing
often,
taking in the warmth
and beauty
and stillness,
letting go the tension
which we hadn’t realized
we’d taken on; the tension
of climate talks,
about the future of life
on this magnificent planet.

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And that day
in the sunlight
and stillness,
amid the gurgling sound of Sand Hill Cranes,
the beauty of life on the planet
healed us
some,
and we made one more prayer
for healing
for all.

Rain had fallen for three days
and the cold air
sheathed every tree in ice.
Many had split
and crashed.
Power was out in some neighborhoods.
Sunday dawned misty
and gray
but by noon,
no precipitation fell
and so the Global Climate March
in downtown Oklahoma City
was on.
Every hardy, hearty soul
who approached Bicentennial Park
outside the Civic Center
was greeted warmly.
Green ribbons were pinnedto their coats; reminders
that for the next two weeks
leaders from 196 nations
will decide whether or not
to commit their countries
to lowering carbon emissions.
Julie Conrady, Connie Johnson
and Chebon Kernell
spoke with great passion
and wisdom.
The Starvation Army Band
played great music.
Children young and old
made games with the Earth balls.
And just when we thought
our feet were too cold to walk,
we marched.

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The Oklahoma City march
was one of 2,300 in 175 countries
where 785,000 people
marched for a 100% clean energy
future. So glad
to be part of this global
push.

A city cat
chose a sunny spot
in the food forest
the afternoon
of this first-freeze,
late-Novemer Sunday.

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By then
sun had warmed the chill
and the cat wasn’t the only one
out among the sunlight and the trees.
We humans too
were out—
some in Oklahoma City’s Edgemere Park—
taking in the flabbergasting beauty,
the mystery,
the wonder;
gratefully bearing briefly
the unkeepable impact—
that soaring vigor raging in the chest—
when standing amid light and leaf.

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The Human Community Network's photo.

I know a group of people
who for the last year or more
have been studying
how to bring about
systemic transformation.
That was an abstraction
for me until they explained
what they mean. (We’ll get to that.)
At the same time,
I’ve been slogging through
Naomi Klein’s incredible book,
This Changes Everything.
It’s a slog because it is heavy
with information
and because it’s so well-developed
there’s a lot to take in. I still
have about half the book to read,
but I’m taking it as I can absorb it;
then I skipped from the middle
to the conclusion. There I found
much to inspire and encourage
and I think the effort my friends
here in Oklahoma City have been making
and are about to introduce
to the wider community
is an example of what Klein
suggests.

Climate change, Klein writes,
could be the “grand push,”
that brings together many people,
many movements for change,
that together
can support change,
right the wrongs
of history. “Climate change
is our chance to right those festering wrongs at last…
the unfinished business of liberation.”
It is possible and will take
“the convergence of diverse constituencies
on a scale previously unknown.”

“…any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of worldviews, a process of rebuilding and reinventing the very idea of the collective, the communal, the commons, the civil and the civic after so many decades of attack and neglect.”

The Human Community Network
is a project in Oklahoma
that seeks to bring groups
together to support each other,
recognize the connections,
the interdependency—
the ways one process affects the others—
and work together using various creative
programs and methods
to educate
and make systemic changes
that encourage
the flourishing of life
for all.
This Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.
in Room 151 Walker Center,
Oklahoma City University,
you can meet these visionaries
and learn about how you
can engage in this effort
to build The Human Community Network.
I’ll be there and would love to welcome you,
share in this exciting time
as we go forward through
an ecological crisis
toward a sustainable future.
“Fundamentally,” Naomi Klein writes:

the task is to articulate…an alternative worldview to rival the one at the heart of the ecological crisis—embedded in interdependence rather than hyper-individualism, reciprocity rather than dominance, and cooperation rather than hierarchy.

This is another lesson from the transformative movements of the past:…they dreamed in public, showed humanity a better version of itself, modeled different values in their own behavior, and in the process liberated the political imagination and rapidly altered the sense of what was possible.

We are at the beginning of our ninth year
at Turtle Rock Farm,
immersed in nature,
leading retreats and workshops
in an effort to help people connect
with the natural world,
of which they are an interdependent part,
and learn sustainability practices.
Now, as we also participate
in the CommonWealth Urban Farm
community in Oklahoma City,
and with Transition OKC,
we are connecting with a growing number
of Oklahomans, by golly,
who are committed to helping create
not only sustainable life,
but flourishing life for all.
The evolution
of our involvement is surprising—
as evolution often is—
and stunningly hopeful.
In many ways
we see not only
a way through the crisis,
together,
but the possibility that we enter
a time of immense change
in understanding,
in perception,
in action
that will benefit
all life on the planet.

More related invitations:
CommonWealth Urban Farms
Neighborhood Potluck at the Garden
is Saturday, October 31,
11:30-1:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City showing
of This Changes Everything,
the movie, is December 1st,
6:30 p.m. AMC Quail Springs Mall.
75 people must reserve tickets
so that the movie can be shown
in Oklahoma City.

It’s a beautiful autumn afternoon:
sunshine, cloudless sky, temperature
in the mid-70’s. The air is still.
If one were to be set down today
in the CommonWealth Urban Farms,
it would look like a spring garden:
Bright greens
growing in long patches
and pots. Broccoli plants, carrot shoots.
Oh, but look over there: tomatoes,
still ripening. Ah, yes,
this is the fall garden—the very best time
to grow vegetables in Oklahoma.

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The secret ingredient: Lia’s soil mix

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Seedlings ready for succession plantings

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Our Latest Newsletter:
An Astonishing Summer at Turtle Rock Farm

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