Biome . . . photo by author

The image above is of a biome. Which is an ecosystem of living and sorta-living things (eg viruses). For added interest in a ‘Driesenaar world,’ this biome is located in a remote village of indigenous Panamanians, who are a hodgepodge of other races and cultures — it’s absolutely fascinating really. Between the hybrid populace, and the warm, cool, hot, wet and dry climate, lack of toxins, and the amazing existence here of . . . I swear I’m not exaggerating:

We have every insect, every plant and animal, every species of fungus and amoeba and virus and compost that exists in the greater world! Okay, compost doesn’t quite fit in the list, but in its own way covers everything.

Some mornings I study my garden closely. I can see the filaments or hyphae of fungi and un-named things, I see insects eating leaves or eating other insects, and when I look closer I see tiny insects infesting the larger bugs. There are little specks I can barely see, leaving and entering the pores of the soil. Look! Okay, this is beyond the pale. A dung beetle? Yes, rolling a ball of . . .well, it’s gotta be! It’s just so typical of Panamá. A month ago I was dreamily thinking on a couple of successive warm nights about the lightning bugs, fireflies, back in Ohio during my brief childhood. Wishing they had them here. And starting the next night, they were! I didn’t succeed in catching any, but no matter. There were two in my bedroom!


When everything in your country or your life is miraculous, what can you use for contrast? Just as you never hear of hatred here, or questions of what do you do for a living, you don’t hear of the quotidian reality of actually living in the midst of miracles, in paradise!

In an world absurdly overpopulated, which in fact is the primary source of existential threats to the human race, Panama can boast only 4 million people. This requires a diagram:

Photo of bedroom floor of and by Author

4 million would amount to four Jacksonville Floridas put together. But in Panamá we’re talking about an entire country, with a capital city holding nearly half the population.

Compare to world population, courtesy of

The two million of us who are not in the capital city are living in a very rural setting. There are probably more cows than people. The signs of population like trash or water or sewage problems are not obvious or prominent, if they even exist.

It appears that this paradise I’m living in is short on problems. This is one reason I write so much — I have the time and inclination to share any wisdom I possess, and I know I possess quite a bit. Especially about mulch and farming and biomes. Haiku, not so much.

When I finish a subject, I stop. Like right here.

If you want my personal attention, just let me know, somehow. I do keep an email available, and check it a few times a week:



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Fred Ermlich

Fred Ermlich

Living in rural Panamá — non-extractive, non-capitalistic. Expat USA. Scientist, writer, researcher, teacher. STEM mentor +languages.