Much has happened over the past year. Peace Valley has grown and evolved as it became obvious that there is a need for reconnection to the land and to nature before people are able to actively choose ecosystem restoration work; to care for something one must first have a relationship with it. The focus of the project has shifted towards one of providing the space for people to heal and reconnect to the land and all of nature through mainly experiential learning.
This was our first full week long event and all went very well. The week included both theory and practice of community living with lots of shared activities, play, laughter, deep personal sharing, and song. In fact it was so successful we'll be doing more of the same later in the year!
How to put words to what happened here at the Weaving Peace Family Weekend just gone is very hard. We didn't JUST weave Peace, we wove pure magic! Ceremony was held to ground and heal, an international group of all ages played, ate, sang, swam and wove together sharing stories and laughter in harmony and with deep respect and reverence for each other and the natural world we share. The ancestors and the creatures were there witnessing and sharing the love. A pair of glossy black cockatoos did a low fly by over us during the ceremony as if to give their approval.
Last week a strong, swirling local wind destroyed the main Peace Valley camp area. Unbelievably little real damage was done apart from some bent poles. So this has been taken as an opportunity to rebuild better, more beautiful and in a more robust fashion. The deconstruction and clean up following the storm is now mostly complete and the new is starting to grow. Similarly Peace Valley itself is currently being redefined as the focus shifts from ecosystem restoration to INNER ecosystem restoration. Healing our inner world opens the way for more outward healing in all areas.
Chantal and I took a weekend away from the bush, we enjoyed 5 Rhythms dance and visited the Farmers Market at Mullumbimby, also Blue Knob Market, the sea at Brunswick Heads, the Weave and Mend Festival at Nimbin and then finished with a look around the Lismore Car Boot Market before heading back to Peace Valley. It was a colourful weekend with inputs for all senses!
Over the weekend of September 7th to 9th the first ever dedicated TreeSisters in person gathering was held at Peace Valley. It was a weekend of magic and wonder as over 20 TreeSisters enjoyed building deep friendship and weaving connection both literally and metaphorically during a workshop held by Nina. We also dived deep into grief and other often unexpressed emotion around our lives and the current state of the planet, we planted trees, sang and drummed together, ate wonderful food, shared deeply and laughed a lot.
These months have been a time of further consolidation of the project with improvements at camp, networking locally and internationally. Peace Valley has reached out to the Boonah Community Garden, Boonah Organisation for a Sustainable Shire, Turnstyle Community Hub in Brisbane and the local Githabul Rangers in Kyogle. The first steps to creating a native edible forest garden which is dedicated to TreeSisters have been made. A very successful weekend was spent planting the first trees. Several enquiries about volunteering/visiting have been made both from local Australians and travellers.
This week a series of workshops are being held to educate about the techniques of indigenous land management using fire as the tool. I was able to attend one of these at the property of Ivan Davison at the top end of the gorge towards the Head. It was a great day with a group of people as diverse as government environment officers, indigenous ranger groups from the local Githabul and also from the Bunya mountains, a senior fire officer and his wife, local landowners and other interested parties. All were there to learn.
We did it, a forest garden is in the ground, growing for future generations! It was a great event, lots of laughter and time to just be together. When we got down to the work of planting though it went so smoothly and easily it was amazing. It's stage one of the planting and mostly there are big rainforest trees in place, e.g. figs, lilly pillys etc with space for mid and lower story plantings later. We planted in a spiral and on the outside of this put in a circle of common acacia as a protective ring.