we will never win

by john

today’s thought: we will never “win” against nature. what do i mean by this?

this means…well, here are some things i did today that make me think this. i went weeding this morning, which is the act of removing plants from a crop field which are undesired or not the crop that is being grown. i’ve gotten used to it and i would enjoy it if it weren’t for the heat and dizziness you get from crouching down too long, which is exactly what i experienced. you get to hear the birds singing and the toads croaking. you also get to see lady bugs as well as bumblebees which have made their home. you also get to see really cool insects and egg formations (this is a thing).

credit to whoever took this photo

so i spent the whole morning doing this excercise. the main muscles involved are probably the lower back and legs. plants have amazing regenerative powers. for the type of weed that i was destroying, if you didn’t cut all the way down to the roots, they would regrow. in an area of a tennis field, i took the whole morning and i had barely made a dent in the weed population. there is no way that the weeds will ever be all destroyed. they grow too fast. we can’t win this battle. nature will do what it likes. it tolerates our existence for now.

after a nice lunch of soy curds, potatoes and cabbage, and sesame noodles it was my duty to bring the compost bin to the composting area. but this was after i learned “autumn leaves” on the piano. it’s a beautiful song, with a “simple” chord progression of II, V, I, IV, VII, III, which is pretty simple to remember once you’ve got it down. it’s a jazz standard apparently, so I’ll have to practice and get fluent at it. but i was talking about composting, yes.

the thing about composting is that it doesn’t smell very nice. fresh compost is pretty gross. our senses were designed to think of rotting food as “inedible” so we naturally find it gross. but flies like it a lot. in fact they lay their eggs in food waste, and start eating away at the super nutritious food waste. it’s a sight to behold. worms, worms, worms everywhere. technically i think they are maggots, since they eventually become flies. but there they were, having the time of their lives, reproducing and gorging themselves. olive, our mentor, taught chichi (another volunteer here) how to scrape the maggots using a dustpan and a painting brush into a container to be used as feed for chicken. that’s where your organic eggs come from, maggots from rotting food fed to chickens. it’s safe, i promise.

tasks included turning the compost so that the different areas of compost could get some fresh air and decay going on. compost also requires heat, moisture, and a suitable mix of green and brown matter. fresh food waste is considered as “green” matter, whereas old compost, leaves and woody bits are considered “brown” matter. we were instructed to shovel “fresh” smelling food compost as well as chickenshit mixed with food waste, which smells wonderful. sort of like the opposite of flowers in the breeze. so i suppose if you asked me to make compost now, i could probably attempt it. microorganisms is where it’s at. they are the shit (literally).

so when we die, that’s what’s going to happen. maggots will eat us, the chicken will eat the maggots, and humans will then eat those “organic” eggs and chicken. we will never win, so we might as well enjoy it while we can.