What I love about compost is that it takes what is ruined and wasted and transforms it into the place for new beginnings.
I guess I was (am?) a pretty weird child. Growing up, I was super into things like compost and watching a seed packet full of wildflowers grow. Now I’m all mature and I like things like…well…still those things. I took those old ToysRUs commercials pretty seriously I guess. I don’t wanna grow up.
Seriously though. Compost. It’s become my new obsession. Especially after my first attempt failed so miserably. When I first started trying, I thought you could just throw a bunch of junk into a bin and eventually it would be soil.
But in life and in compost, transformation takes more effort than that.
For one thing, you have to keep it consistently wet or it could start to smoke. Not that I’ve ever lifted the compost bin to find smoke coming off the top of course. That would be completely irresponsible and un-neighborly like. And, as I’m sure everyone, especially my neighbors know, I am absolutely perfect….yesss…
Have I used enough italics to convince everyone reading of my perfection yet? Yes, you exclaim!
But seriously, there are things you want to add to your compost. Used up coffee grounds, banana peels, eggshells. Then there are things you DON’T want to add, like dairy, meat, stuff with a bunch of seeds or too much citrus. You have to remember to turn it every once in a while, which is just a fancy way of saying stir it up.
So far we have a few key elements in the process of transformation. Let’s recap, shall we?
- Junky stuff to add to the pile. Some might call this baggage, leftovers, throwaways, tossed mistakes. Smelly stuff we’d rather not have to deal with anymore.
- Heat. The elements heat up and start to get really uncomfortable, fuming and coiling their energy, ready to explode apart, searching for a way to bust out of their current form.
- Water to break it all down. Something to soften the junky stuff. To cause it to collapse and fall apart. A shocking event or insight. A heart melting after a revealing yoga class.
- We need to introduce motion. Movement, something to shake things up, to get things going. Stir it up. Mix it together.
- Time. After all the elements, all the steps are brought together, we just have to be patient and let it sit. The compost will turn to soil only when it’s ready. Not before.
Okay, so maybe I’m not just talking about compost. Though it’s kind of funny to think how much transforming waste is exactly like what happens when we transform our lives. It’s a process. A natural process, you could say. A slow process. A process that takes attention, dedication and upkeep.
But it can change. It does change. It will change. And we can change.
In fact, that’s the only truth in all of life, the only constant. Everything always changes. And if we nurture the change just so, with kindness and love, we can transform things from a big old pile of shit to nourishing growth.