Rearranging the Pile

manureThe sun has actually shown itself for two days, after weeks of rain, then wind, then snow, then sleet, then rain, then flooding, then fog.  The light above finally reappeared and it shone brightly, cheerfully, unblinkingly…. on my manure pile.

During all the bad weather, the chief barn cleaner (that would be me) really didn’t enjoy wheelbarrowing all the manure out to the pile, through the elements, whether it was an arctic blast wind, or a foot of snow, or ice covering the pathway, or huge deep puddles.  I went for a “dump and run” technique which meant I didn’t pile things up in a careful methodical way.  Instead I left piles randomly everywhere.  This is not the way to build a manure pile.  Nothing really heats up and decomposes when it is not piled together.  Instead it just sits there, taking up space and not doing what manure does best–become useful fertilizer for the spring pastures.

So I had no excuses yesterday.  It had to be done.   I had to pitch and move the manure pile into a semblance of orderly compost, flattening it out into a sloping ramp for ease of future dumping.  Yes, it took time and muscle and patience–all things I did not exercise much of in the last few weeks of excuse-laden poor weather.  Today, when I went out to the barnyard to survey my good work,  I only had to lift one shovelful to see the steam rise happily from beneath.  This is now happy manure, if there is such a thing.

My life is too often a dump and run affair too.  I don’t measure out my minutes carefully enough to take care of things in the orderly way they should be managed.  Anyone who has been to my house knows this about me.  I know what are in those piles of books, papers, clothing, etc.   It just doesn’t look like I do when I start searching for something…

I know what is in the piles of stuff I’d sooner forget about, kind of like the manure pile in the barnyard.  There are parts of me that I’d like to dump and run away from: things I say or do or think that I’m certainly not proud of, that I regret the moment it happens. I leave it in a little pile, all by itself, not wanting to ever return to it and do what really needs doing.  Instead it needs to be ceremonially heated up and decomposed so it never happens again, or with all the other stuff I do every day, it needs to someday become fertilizer for a better life lived down the line.

Maybe my children will learn from watching me manage my personal manure piles,  and benefit from my mistakes, rather than being busy creating their own.

The Light is shining on the manure piles of my life.    It is unblinking, stark and at times blinding.   It is time for me to quit the “dump and run” and to face the heat, knowing it will inevitably create something better out of me.  I will become the fertilizer someday.

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