Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Compost Color


Colorful pumpkins, their autumn orange starting to go dull, ended up on the compost pile this week. Nights of deep freeze caused their flesh to wrinkle and their sidewalls to collapse. 

The compost pile tells the story of good eating. Wrinkled peppers from the garden, grapefruit skins, orange rinds, onion peels -- all join the discards where time and rot and degradation, energized by bacteria and moisture and heat, will create a rich new start for next year's garden. 

Some days, when I walk out to discard the peels and parings from a meal, I will find things scattered and I will know that another creature is benefiting from pile. A deer might sniff and nibble on an orange rind. A raccoon carries an eggshell onto the pathway. 

Most days though, what I see is the subtle change as the color and form of what once was food slowly becomes soil. 

It's quite the miracle, this progression of organisms and molecules and cellular structure into nutrients. From the orange of autumn to the green of spring, the compost pile does its biological job. 

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