the magical compost pile


two of our compost piles, hard at work.

The most magical place in our home is the compost pile. With open arms, it takes the dead, the rotten, the leftovers.  Add in sun and water and the hard work of slithery creatures and dutiful microbes, the compost is transformed into rich, black dirt.  It feeds our plants and flowers.  The micronutrients are reborn into something beautiful and often delicious.

I can see why people several hundred years ago thought life was formed from invisible particles that float in the air.  It seems as if God breathes onto our muck and turns it into something of inherent good.Things transform quickly. One day an apple core, the next day something new.  The building up from the breaking down, it seems divine.  But its just life, the everyday miracle of existence here on earth.

I wouldn’t say that God is decomposing the waste products from my thorough cleanout of the chicken coop this weekend, but this humble pile has taught me a spiritual lesson or two.

I will let the losses in my life transform me.  I will become stronger and healthier as I absorb the good from all whom I have left me, and all I have left behind.  That which I have lost is still with me, in the same way that the molecules in the flowers my mom sent me for my birthday last year will be reborn into this winter’s lettuce crop.

I want my mother back.  I want to sit next to her, drink coffee and feel her hand in mine.  But that is not possible. I have choices, though.  I can cultivate the gaping holes in my heart so something new can flourish.  I can grow.

8 thoughts on “the magical compost pile

  1. Martha Goudey

    I used to take mom flowers and once they were wilted, she would send them home with me in a plastic bag and take them home to put them in the compost pile. It was easier to throw them away at her house, but I’m glad she asked. “The molecules in the flowers,” I gave my mom will be forever reborn in my garden. Thank you for this great image.

  2. Pat Cegan

    Beautifully written. I had a bit of trouble getting here as your blog was not listed on your post for some reason. Thank you for telling me about this post….I liked it a lot! hugs, pat

  3. fumblingtowardsrecovery

    beautiful. thank you for sharing.

    funny, i wrote about a compost pile with regards to my dad’s cancer and my own transformation too. seems there are some common threads in all this chaos.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      I think that is why this blogging experience through grief can be so powerful. We come to understand our own suffering through the stories of others. Plus, it helps to not feel so terribly alone. I know everyone around me seems fine at work, at the grocery store, etc. Even if a lot of them aren’t, they look like they are.The reminder that there are others walking alongside myself feels good.


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