ECOFEMINA IN THE BACKYARD

EcoFemina lives on earth because it happened like that, even though some good

people say there is a semi-autonomous spirit quite responsible on that matter.

She is Eco as she comes from the ground, feeling more earthly than what might be

understood through studied words, because she loves the ocean and the air and

afterwards she may step barefoot again. As an Eco, she learns that cooperation

and competition exist on the same degree, that between symbiosis and parasitism

the distance might be short, and that the four previously mentioned actions serve

to respond to physiological or existential-like needs – such as feeding, un-feeding,

breeding, maintaining life and creating the beauty that might justify to endure

everything else. This tends to happen in collective structures, in inter-dependence so

to say, in which everything has a function, is growing to have one or lives dependent

on those who have it. She is Femina because female does not sound good and

feminine would barely be applicable. We should avoid the rose-tone of the question,

bringing up some rawness (in the good days, a diamond, on all other days some tough

angry stone) and the need to stand up for what continues to be more distant “on the

other side”. So, EcoFemina lives on earth with a woman body, fighting for the earth

and for the woman.

EcoFemina in the Backyard

They are always fascinating, the children’s dreams, mainly when not shaped by

Christmas publicity or by some families’ expectations. Well, EcoFemina’s childhood

dream was to come back to the fields in which she had never lived. So, as soon as

possible, she ran off the big city and looked for a house with a backyard, in the middle

of the green. She found it.

In a good mirrored structure, the house and the backyard manifested to be as crude as

EcoFemina: “it is possible to develop a lot, but we need to fill the corners, shape it, and

control its route”. What the hell, this “modelling recipe” has never resulted. We must

study it better, people interact with nature for so much time, someone might have

arrived to some good conclusions about houses with backyards before EcoFemina! And

so she did it, studied, listened to a lot of people, went to training courses and tried,

failed, tried again, failed again and waited for better results.

Glossary pause.

TO FAIL: acting without obtaining the aimed result. For example: putting seeds on the

ground and see them being eaten by birds; covering the sowing with some net, beating

the birds; to marvel with the growth of the plant and see it being destructed in two

days by the snails; put the plants in such an order that they are protected from most of

the plagues, and then comes the storm, and all the puzzle falls in pieces.

One of the things that the house with a backyard has shown to EcoFemina is that the

ecological balance is indispensable. But there is no unique recipe for that; we need

to understand the place’s dynamics and boost the balance factors. In other words:

once, EcoFemina saw a rat. As she was an urbanite creature living the neo-almost-rural

dream, this event has not been particularly pleasant. She was watering the backyard

when a brown animal with the size of a rabbit (so, a monstrous rat) just moved. In

panic, she threw the water in its direction aiming to keep it away, and only at that

moment she learnt that little mice go away, but big rats do attack. That monster came

in the direction of the water – and, therefore, in the direction of EcoFemina, who lost

her head, ran away from the backyard while [verb meaning “to make an acute noise”,

like mice – but also people – do] more than a hot pink creature, closed all the doors,

windows and even curtains – or the monster could stay lurking on the other side.

Only after a long monologue with slots of an angry emotion – during which she asked

herself why the fuck does one person leave the city, live in the cold, put seeds on the

ground and catches rats instead of plants – a more illuminated idea has occupied her

mind. Why not leave food to the stray cats? The smell of a cat keeps away the rat. No

poison, no cages, boosting the ecological balance!

ECOLOGICAL BALANCE: a dynamic state in which the functions and needs of the

present beings do complement and control each self harmoniously. For example: the

flowers recall some insects with precious functions such as pollination; but too many

insects destroy the plants, so the birds control their number while eating them. Then

some rodents appear with no apparent reason, but the presence of some cats keeps

them away – until one day, expressing their gratitude, the cats begin to hunt some

rats and dedicate them to EcoFemina, who gets profoundly sick and does no longer

understand the ecological balance, again.

EcoFemina is not that robust woman, so strong as the fields – no, she has allergy

each time her hands dig the soil. She is not even the goddess of the natural mystery

of production – she only learnt the difference between lemongrass and nettle after

touching them with her fingers and howling like a wolf. And a woman is no wolf,

and when she howls it seems improbable that she aims to connect her chakra to the

universal energy, she instead connects to the universal pain of those who do what

they don’t know. But fortunately there are some aromatic herbs more resistant to

the elements. And she tries to learn how to maintain and reproduce them, wandering

and lame. She tries to gather the seeds to plant later on, keeping aunt Vandana on her

mind, but it is difficult to arrive to the spirituality of the question. The ancestral lesson

is known: there is disrespect for the nature and for the woman, so if both causes get

united they may gain an incredible force. A big productive incursion, among seeds

and bellies. Plants that are never equal to each other, even inside the same species,

and women who fight to have a place among their diversities. It is generally on that

moment that an insect enters the glove and bites EcoFemina.

By Inês Vieira

Inês is a researcher from Portugal. She dedicates most of her efforts to a PhD on human ecology (studying the reasons to migrate and the role of water/environmental stress) and to an international project on intercultural promotion. Both projects are also good excuses to travel as much as possible. On her free time, she tries to explore different ways of narrative, still very attached to words.

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