compost adventure

I love a day that starts with borrowing an old pick-up truck from a friend and then filling it up with as much free compost as it can hold.

This morning my friend Amy and I were planning to take her truck to Berkeley for the city's monthly free compost giveaway. (Which Novella Carpenter wrote about on her blog last month.) But at the last minute there was a snafu with Amy's truck which meant we were either going to have to abandon our quest for free compost (noooooo!) or find an alternate solution.

Just when it was looking like all hope of compost was lost, a last minute chance encounter lead to another source for a truck (thank you Jim!) The day saved, we headed to Berkeley and started shoveling. It was so much fun to be part of this communal gardening experience. There were all types of people in all kinds of vehicles. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, enjoying the sunny day and the all-you-can-shovel compost buffet. Besides the free "black gold," the nice weather and the exercise (shoveling a truckload of compost is a decent workout) I really enjoyed the feeling of community–strangers coming together around a common interest, sharing shovels and helping each other.

While I was shoveling away I also found myself reflecting on the concept of re-use and renewal on a personal level. The compost giveaway happens to take place in an area that holds a lot of deeply bittersweet memories for me. Being there again after a long absence stirred up some painful feelings. But then I thought about the compost–rotted old plant material that transforms into such a nutritious resource–and how we humans with time (and perspective) can also transform difficult experiences (or feelings or memories) into something that makes us grow. Layering a new memory onto this location was a step in that direction for me today. Growing with my garden…

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