August harvest

Composting my way to a better life

August harvest (Photo by T.S. Bremer, 2013)

We were asked in a workshop what metaphor best expresses how we understand our writing efforts. Someone suggested building a sand castle, several came up with some version of travel—one called it the hero’s journey. At least one said that writing came as a Sisyphean ordeal of pushing the boulder up the mountain.

I hadn’t thought of my writing in terms of metaphor. But as I reflected for a moment, the image of compost came to mind. Piling up various discarded organic materials into a steaming heap, letting it rest while nature does its magic transforming trash to delicious soil, then adding it to the garden to produce a bountiful harvest, compost seemed the perfect representation of how I think of writing.

Good gardeners know that healthy, rich soil is the key to a successful garden. And the secret to outstanding soil is compost. Greater attention to composting means a greater harvest.

Like gardening, writing is a process that demands much care and attention at every phase. Soils composted over winter sprout seeds in March, which are mulched in April, staked in May, watered in June, weeded in July, to bear fruits for the table in August, and by November have returned to compost for new seeds that will sprout in new seasons.

After many years of composting the written word, I now realize that the metaphor works for more than writing. Isn’t this how all of life goes? From the compost we spread on barren grounds to the fruits we enjoy and share with others, every small exertion somehow bears fruit.

[Daily post 036 of 260 in my year-long challenge.] ♨

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