I turned the compost heap over yesterday. It was beautiful, dark and rich and as sweet as a good fruit cake. Full of life, too, earthworms and slaters, which scurried away from the light( sorry, little slater). It was a slow, quiet, meditative job for me.
And as I do, I thought of the great compost poem by Walt Whitman, and went to seek it out.
Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas'd corpses,
It distils such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal,annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.
' this compost' by Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass, the 1892 deathbed edition
A tale of black turtle beans:
A week or two ago I went to buy black turtle beans from the food co op. At the cashier, I said, why do I feel no confidence when these organic beans are from China.
Not even the Chinese want to eat food from China, I went on. Look at baby formula.
He explained that the supplier had changed the source, and they were stuck with them. If I were you, he said, I'd buy the regular ones from the USA. A lot of customers weren't happy with the Chinese ones.
Oh. I hadn't seen them, I said, so he showed me where they were, and I changed them.
On the way home I reflected that there wasn't much of the earth left where the soil was untainted. I even have doubts about the soil in Australia ( and in truth I'm not that fussed on buying organic food anyway).
Whitman's poem is about how the earth takes all our sickness and corpses, and corruption, and cleanses them. It's a feeling you could only have in the nineteenth century. Now, I feel we are overwhelming the world, burdening it with so much that it can't recover.
Today I put the compost around the the strawberries, and the raspberry bush, and the blackberry. I gave some to the chard, and the lemon and lime trees. Everything likes compost.