Beauty is in the eye of the garbage heap
It wasn't nearly as traumatic as you might think, welcoming my true love into life with me here on the farm, even after over ten years of living here alone. "Here," I said to her, uttering the modern-day words that profess one's true love for someone as I handed her a symbol of my love, "This is the garage-door opener for your side."
Sigh. Romeo has nothing on me. Even for Juliet never sweeter words were heard.
But, alas, the honeymoon is over. The first signs of it came last summer. She said, "We need a composter, someplace to recycle our garbage." Such a simple utterance, one so plain, free of innuendo, uncomplicated.
Said I, thinking this was a simple predicament, "What's wrong with throwing this junk away with the garbage?"
And of course, we all know the answer: Waste not, want not. So, okay. But while I said okay, I thought back to the compost piles of my history, the ones generated from family-sized waste production. These simple beginnings become small mountains, out of which did, I admit, sprout some pretty nice tomato plants, a watermelon or two, and several unidentifiable vines, which threatened to take over the entire garden where the compost pile was located.
Wherefore art thou, my true love, proposing to locate this composter, which turned out to be a small black house. The answer was as predictable as the inevitability of this happening: Right there, close to the house, where it will be easy to get to.
Right there between my two favorite Siouxland cottonwood trees? That black plastic monstrosity? That visual offense against the purity of bucolic country living?
Right there, yes.
And that's where it has been, all last summer, all this winter, gaining an impressive amount of orange peels, celery stems, rotten apples, and nothing that has been cooked. You cannot put stuff in there that has been cooked.
Oh. Okay. (Don't ask. Nothing cooked. True love does not need reasons.)
Summer came early this spring. "Let's look at our composter," my true love said to me one warm day. And we did. The next thing I know -- and don't these abrupt happenings turn into major relationship earthquakes in the blink of an eye? -- the black plastic ugly house is tipped on its side, and instead we're looking at the compost pile.
"Isn't that a great compost pile?" My true love's eyes glittered with love for her compost pile, eyes in which, reflected by light bouncing off the pile, I could see grapefruit rinds, undecomposed apples, whole pieces of squash hides, and various other less-than-wonderful rinds and remains of a compost pile that hasn't been doing its job.
This is great?
"Oh, yes. Let's not put that black composter back. Let's let the pile be itself."
I think it's the army that wants its soldiers to be all they can be; this looks like a pile of garbage, or so I thought to myself. I've certainly reached a stage of maturity in my life where I don't call a pile of garbage a pile of garbage, not where true love -- and my next hot meal -- are concerned.
Then She said, "Let's eat out on the deck tonight."
Yes, my true love, lets. The better to see you, I said, while thinking, the better to see that pile of garbage.
True love. Warts, pile of garbage, and all.