The winter solstice commemorates the birth of light. Soon we will live the darkest day of the year but also, little by little, we will see how the days are lengthening, gaining more hours at night and darkness. Let all this light fill our hearts and let us surrender to the most special and endearing meaning of the winter solstice: sharing with others, gathering together, renewing ourselves. It is time to sow. Imagine that we are a fertile field waiting to receive a lot of new things that will take root in us, growing towards the sky, towards the stars, making us shine.
Last Saturday, November 27th, we celebrated the first meeting of the Learning Community planting trees in community in the forest. These meetings seek to establish links between the community through action, as a way to return to the human network, to collaborate and enrich the project in a family and festive environment. The contribution and donation of trees and shrubs by the families was very numerous. Those that could best adapt to the characteristics of the terrain were chosen, such as oak, pine, murta, laurel, strawberry tree, olive or fruit trees. During the meeting new families could get to know the space where their children play every day at the school, as well as the projects that are being carried out.
It is November and the light of the long summer days is fading little by little. The leaves of the trees begin to dress in golden colors before detaching and covering the ground in browns, yellows and reds. At this time, when the light from outside begins to weaken, we take shelter in our homes and turn on the light inside. It is at this time that we celebrate the lantern festival as a community, as a symbol of the flame that shines within and the warmth that emanates from our hearts.
Last year some students from the school planted wheat. This year we have closed the cycle with the making of bread in 4th, 5th and 6th grade of primary school. They have ground wheat grain to extract various types of flour: wholemeal and white. They have made a sourdough starting from scratch from apples and honey, to which we have "fed" flour until it can be used as yeast. They have also learned to knead and shape bread. Sourdough is an exciting journey through three fermentations: alcoholic, lactic and acetic. Each one of them will transmit a unique flavor and aroma to the bread. In addition, the sourdough makes the crumb more moist and the crust tasty and crunchy for longer. Each sourdough has its peculiarities, it is something alive and unrepeatable, and making bread with it is an adventure that sometimes takes you down unexpected paths. Only by knowing your sourdough will you get the bread you want. There are sourdoughs that, like good wines, can last for years, accompanying you throughout life and making it a little more delicious. “Pan, con harina, agua y fuego te levantas, espeso y leve, recostado y redondo, milagro repetido, voluntad de la vida La tierra, la belleza, el amor. Todo eso tiene sabor de pan Todo nació para ser compartido, para ser entregado, para multiplicarse. Entonces también la vida tendrá forma de pan, será simple y profunda, innumerable y pura.” Pablo Neruda
Throughout history, in many cultures and traditions of the most disparate parts of the world initiation rites are performed for young people. It is a symbolic way of taking the first step towards adult life, experiencing separation and beginning to transform into an individual with an identity of their own, expressing the unique essence of each being. This is also what the sixth-grade students of Sa Llavor have done, making the journey that ends their passage through Primary Education. For three days they have walked from Son Macip to the Alaró Castle, carrying the weight of everything they need on their backs. They have slept under the stars, they have shared, they have cooked, they have suffered and they have laughed, they have found sources, they have seen incredible landscapes, they have crossed clouds, they have felt fatigue and strength and they have reached the goal.
The marigolds collected by the children this early spring in the forest have been very well used. In addition to the oil, this month they made a calendula balm with beeswax. To prepare it, they took four proportions of calendula oil for a portion of virgin beeswax. They were heated separately in a water bath until the wax was liquefied. The oil was then carefully poured into the wax container. Finally, the small balm containers were filled with the mixture. This balm has the same properties as calendula oil, but, being made with beeswax, it not only has great moisturizing power but also contains propolis, a natural antibiotic that bees synthesize from wax and conifers resin. We took the opportunity to tell the children more about bees: how they secrete wax with glands that they have in their abdomen, how they pollinate flowers, what honey is, the difference between a wasp and a bee hive, who are the drones, the workers and the queen in a hive ... And so they got closer to these insects that today are an endangered species and that are essential for the survival of the entire ecosystem.
When I discovered Fukuoka's book Seeds in the desert I understood that I had to unlearn everything I knew to date about the land and its management. I come from a family of peasants and I started in traditional agriculture, then I worked as a gardener in houses of great pretensions where the most important thing was to have flowers and green grass in summer even if it was 40 degrees and it had not rained for two months. The life that exists in the subsoil and how it manifests itself on the surface is what occupies my interest now. Man tends to simplify things. When we see a forest we only see the trees, but a forest is much more than that. Under the layer of earth there is a whole world: viruses, bacteria, fungi ... A world that maintains a symbiotic relationship with the forest and thanks to which it survives. The fungi that inhabit the surface of the earth communicate all the trees with each other, allowing the roots to access water and nutrients, even in times of drought, as in a kind of network invisible to our eyes but vital for the subsistence of the forest. Traditional agriculture attacks this entire ecosystem invisible to the eyes. The land where Sa Llavor has projected the Forest is little more than a barren land, overgrazed by sheep and in which the plows have destroyed all this microbiological wealth. I was interested in being part of this project to be able to apply all the years of reading and training in regenerative agriculture and try to make life return to this almost desert piece of land. The field today is an industry, the plants survive because they are artificially fed with manures and fertilizers. Fukuoka had several apprentices under him. He fed them a bowl of rice and told them to go out and find the herbs to complete the dish. Actually everything is out there, what we have to do is train our eyesight and change the perspective with which we interpret nature.
I remember that when I was in Barcelona university, when I returned home for the summer holidays, year after year, my father always asked me the same question: but what exactly were you studying? I kept the poor man very confused: I started Philology but I realized that what interested me was the historical framework of books, so I decided to start History, but there I discovered that the most important thing for me was to understand the social and cultural organization of every era for which I finished Anthropology. When I had to work I had a crisis, of course, then I remembered that as a child I wanted to direct films so I escaped to Cuba for two years to study cinema (I still don't understand how I convinced my father of it) and then, when I returned, I still wanted get into a documentary master's degree. At that time at my house they had already thrown in the towel, I was already working writing scripts for IB3 tv so they stopped asking because with the little I earned I was already supporting myself. Most of what I have worked has been in the Theater where I have gone through many roles: I have produced, I have been an assistant director, I have written, I have directed, I have acted, I have even made a wardrobe without really knowing how to sew!… For teamwork like drama, it is very useful to have “lived” the work of your colleagues. When Gloria asked me to write a review about me for the newsletter, I felt an attack of modesty: “talk about what motivates you,” she told me. So, thinking about everything that has been done, I realized why after so much traveling, what motivates me is to learn. For example, it has always been difficult for me to give my opinion in public so I decided to participate in debates on the radio, and for my eternal balance problems, I am learning to control them through dance. Sometimes I laugh alone when I find myself dancing surrounded by women in their twenties and think: what am I doing here at forty-eight, spinning and tripping over my own feet? But then I look at one of my teachers, who at sixty moves in an incredibly fluid and confident way, and then it all makes sense. The thing that attracts me most is what is difficult for me and everything I don't know how to do it, paradoxically that limit gives me a lot of freedom and mental breadth. This year I have started to collaborate with Pau in the Forest Project and I am enjoying accompanying the children of the school in the transformation of this rather barren space into a future forest. This will take time, dedication, patience and faith, but it is a path that will be full of learning in company, so I can't imagine a better plan. After this, the next thing I plan to do is
The forest is also a time to learn to share. From the beginning of the year, the students began to build cabins in the forest and, with the spring, they began to spontaneously make small gardens, sowing seeds that they brought from home: garlic, apple seeds, onions, ... Taking advantage of this desire to cultivate, during the Forest Project a shared orchard and garden space has been devised where everyone can grow from seeds taken from home to small plants. The idea is that they go from this more private concept to the communal and shared. Thus, during the last day, borage, Calendula Oficialis and pumpkin seeds were sown. The idea is not to have a garden from which to get edible vegetables but rather a place to learn to take care of the plants that will later serve as organic matter to enrich the earth, where they can work cooperatively and generate a habit among themselves to learn to manage a community use of space.
Within the area of natural sciences, the students of the Second and Third Cycle of the school have joined an activity of the Forest Project where they have had to act as authentic alchemists of nature. First they have collected the yellow wild marigold flowers, Calendula arvensis, that have begun to bloom lining the forest. They have put them all in their glass jars and then they have poured the organic oil they had brought from home - olive oil, sesame oil, jojoba oil, hazelnut oil, ... -. Then they have shaken the jar up and down, mashing the mixture well. Once at home, students should leave the jar on the windowsill, away from direct sun, and each day turn it around, alternately leaving it with the lid up or with the lid down, so that all the flowers are soaked in oil. After forty days they will be able to strain its contents, throw the flowers and store the oil in a place protected from light. Calendula oil, Pau told us, has many beneficial properties for the skin, helps heal burns, wounds, is healing, moisturizing, soothing and softening.