Instructions for Making Compost

From a certain perspective,

compost is all about death.



That final descent from beauty

into a chaos of crumbs.


On the other hand,

compost is all about life.

New life, forming at the ground level

of the vast, intricate, beautiful ecology that makes us possible.

Microbes, worms, insects, fungi

all perform miraculous transformations

to produce the soil in which

our life is rooted.


Compost can be poetic.

Not too much; not too little.

Not too wet; not too dry.

Not too hot, not too cold.

Not too slow, not too fast.


Nothing overmuch.

The yin and the yang doing their eternal dance

in perfect counterpoise.


When the balance is lost, compost stinks.

Use your nose,

restore the balance,

turn the pile,

add what’s lacking,

remove that which offends.

The rest is patience.

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