Deep Thought Of the Week: Compost Bin 180 (Or, ‘Life from Death’)

I was scrunging around in the garden earlier this weekend.  It’s surprisingly therapeutic (or it would be, were it not for my sudden apparent allergy to all things propagated by means of pollen) and somewhat necessary to feed myself. 😉  I’m the only vegetarian in my family.  I was on a bike ride earlier with my father this morning and we were discussing my archery skills (which are wicked, mind you) and whether we would attend any 3D shoots this year.  I told him I would gladly accompany him to any shoots as long as we were killing foam targets and not actual deer.  He said something along the lines of poking fun at my diet, and I responded with, “Oh, I have mad hunting skills.  You should see me in the garden.  Those peas never even see it coming.” 😉

There’s my entertaining little story for the day!  Laugh along, if you’re vegetarian and can relate or whether you think the whole idea of vegetarianism is for ninnies like my dad.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, I was scrunging around in the garden.

So, anyway, I opened the compost bin to toss in this week’s worth of pig slop compostable material and what do you know?  Inside the bin–this black, plastic, lockable rotating compost bin–is a family of frogs.  About five or six of them, I would imagine, only they kept moving around so.  After a while they settled down, assured that they were camouflaged enough that I, the big scary vegetarian predator, wouldn’t see them and wolf them down.

I ran to get my camera.


This got me thinking, as any out-of-the-ordinary (or sometimes just ordinary) scenes are apt to do to me.  I blame it on my strange tendency to think in poetic verse.  But anyway, these humble little frogs got the cogs a-turnin’ (or are they toads?  Locals, a little help here?).  They seemed perfectly happy and content, and in fact a little smarmy, about their newly adopted habitat.  It was where they found their needs best suited and where they enjoyed themselves most.

And that place was this:

Yeah, I don’t really blame you if you said (or thought) eww.  I suppose it is kind of beautiful, in a jumbled-up imperfect graffiti type of way.  The way all the different colors mesh together.  But still.  It’s disgusting, primarily.

It’s cliche, but the saying “when life gives you melons, you may be dyslexic” popped into my head.  Oh, wait, that wasn’t it.  It was actually “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.  Or, taking this whole analogy thing a bit further, you could decide that maybe there was a point to life giving you lemons and that you actually really like them.  Maybe you never really noticed it before, but the way each of their little ends tapers off into a cute little bulb is kind of charming.  Maybe you love what their juice and zest can do for your salad dressings.  And eventually you just might get to a point of such inner positivity you’re like heck, why was I all upset over a free basket of lemons anyway?

These frogs found a way to make that rotting pile of disgust into something beautiful, hospitable, even.  We have a pond in our yard, so it wasn’t like there was a shortage of places for them to live.  They chose to live in the compost heap and decided they would be pleasant about it.  Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing them a bit too much.  After all, they probably were just a big fan of the flies the compost attracted.  But I think we can all take this message to heart.  I mean, if you had told me two weeks before I found out we were moving that this was where I would be living out the next chapter of my life, I would’ve socked you.  And hyperventilated.  As it was, finding out when I did, I still sobbed for a day straight, and when we finally moved, it felt surreal, like it couldn’t actually be happening.

And I know I’ve been a little bitter about the whole moving thing in the past.  All of my friends certainly know that I like to poke fun at this place and throw in little snippets of how glorious my home state was in random conversation.  But hey, this is my compost heap.  My lemon.  The frogs (and spiders and all manner of creepy-crawlies) in that big black bin have taught me that really, all it takes is a new angle on things to start seeing them for their true beauty.  They breathed new life into what literally was a big pile of dead.  These are the most inspiring amphibians I’ve ever seen.

How about you?  What’s your compost heap?

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