August 12th, 2010
This morning I headed out to the compost bin and gave it a bit of a stir with my trusty fork, then gave up on the fork and got stuck into it with a stake. It never fails to make me feel better, both I and the heap give off a good bit of steam.
When I was first learning about gardening, I put my hand on the top of a compost heap one chilly morning and I remember the shock I got to find it warm. It was like a living thing. It seemed to me to be a wonderful thing that a heap of rubbish and manure should become a living, steaming thing. I still feel this today.
This winter I have built a very good compost heap. More organised than other years with layers, sort of. I have put in weeds, kitchen scraps, leaves, duck poo & the shredded remains of my old tax files. I feel a sort of pride as I mush it about, it is very nearly ready! Excitment +
There is a science in compost but there is also alchemy, a kind of magic. The things I have learned about compost make up a corner of bigger lessons about life itself. Everything that lives must die. Everything decays. Life springs from death. These are matters at the heart of things, and at the heart of the compost heap. A compost heap is all about life from death, but it is also about muck and muck is the stuff of life. If life is getting a bit on the mucky side I recommend going out to the heap and giving it a good old going over with the fork!