15 November 2010

other preoccupations

During the last federal election campaign I worked with others to organise and then chaired a community forum on mental health in the electorate of Gilmore. Five speakers from the mental health community spoke, five candidates responded and there was open discussion.

After the elections, I drafted and secured agreement to letters to the successful and unsuccessful candidates, from the Shoalhaven Mental Health Fellowship. Also to the state member for the South Coast Shelley Hancock. And now can report that in addition to a speech in the federal parliament by Joanna Gash MP, Shelley Hancock has used the correspondence as briefing for a major campaign on the issues, including speaking in the parliament.

The central concern as expressed by the community is that while political parties compete to invent new mental health services it is critical that they sustain and enhance existing services. The most serious underlying issue is of staffing: staffing is so thin on the ground (starting at the top, there is no psychiatrist resident on the NSW coast south of the Shellharbour Hospital) that new programs rob old programs of staff and the most important core community programs are seriously stressed.

You may read the correspondence here.


As to something completely different, my strength/s or otherwise at 67 mean I have to let go a rural paradise owned (or which has owned me) for twenty years. To see it, click on the photo I took yesterday, at the entry to our own rainforest (or the rainforest that has owned us).

These years have shown me that the most recent thinking about entropy is right. Regardless of our greater or lesser hand on the tiller (or tractor) nature is imposing its order; our place is inside nature. Read Masanobu Fukuoka, understand that all agriculture (all culture perhaps) is attempt to distort the purpose of nature. Conventional agriculture swipes the plate clean, turns it into a level playing field of sorts, imposes its will and poisons whatever gets in the way. Conventional organic farming swaps the industrial chemicals for 'natural' ones. Fukuoka's mahayana-like farming style works within nature.

It has been a major impact on my brain to spend time in that place, further down the coast, now a bit too far. But even this weekend was so rewarding, entranced inside nature, in the house I built to be beautiful and express personality, to command for a moment some equipment, to revisit the complexity of systems for water and power and growing on a farm. Some nice people came to see; it is really a bit overwhelming, in every sense. There is also the problem that land values have shifted the ownership of such a place from the realm of modest hobby. I may have to offer low price, select on merit, hold an exam!

I brought back more slabs to carve or build with. Pelting rain, no photo now...

Having driven 180km home late yesterday through storm, I collapsed as one does before a screen. Some time later, raising my hand with the remote control in it, there on my top knuckle was the tiniest sweetest leech, about 25mm x 1 to 2mm, waving at me. Were I a more patient soul, less given to impulse, I would not have done what I did before taking a photo: alas you have only my word that it was there. Today I have the notion of a tick here, a leech there, but they are fantasy itches, fortunately.

Anyway, click on the photo to see beauty (and buy it, do you dare buy beauty? Perhaps it would be placing yourself in a position to be possessed by, to support, rather than prostitution...)