Nothing Lost, Nothing WastedBlog / Produced by The High Calling
We keep a bowl under our kitchen sink. In it, I drop the banana peels left over from my morning breakfast smoothie, and my husband dumps coffee grounds on top. At lunch the bowl receives the peel from my apple, and after dinner, we scrape ends of onions and cucumber skins into the bowl.
As the sun hangs low in the sky and a sliver of moon sits way up high, we take that bowl to a corner of our yard and dump its contents on top of the compost pile.
All week we add scraps to the top of that pile. Cut flowers whose petals have dropped to the tabletop, leaving spots of yellow pollen dust behind. Cantaloupe rinds and husks from ears of corn. Grass clippings are added at the end of the week, when my husband stirs the pile with a giant pitchfork - mixing the green in with the brown, out under the summer sun.
I hear the back door slam itself shut when he comes in from turning that pile. The kitchen smells like lavender as I wipe down the countertops and straighten canisters and put the pitcher of iced tea on a shelf in the refrigerator. He stands next to me filling a glass with water, straight from the tap.
"That compost pile is hot now," he says. "See the steam rising up?"
I look through the kitchen window and out across the yard. I can't see the steam, but I believe him. "Mmm-hmmm." I say. I can't see whatever metaphysical transformation is taking place out in that pile, either. But something is definitely happening.
The stuff that looked like trash and could have passed for waste is being transformed out there in the corner of our yard beneath the sun. Over time the brown and green and heat and rain will create a rich and valuable treasure. In the fall, when the days turn cool and darkness creeps across the sky, my husband will shovel mounds of compost into a big yellow yard wagon. He'll cart that wagon across the lawn and turn the compost onto the patch of earth where he'll plant his garden again next spring.
The scraps of fruits and vegetables and droopy, dried-up flowers regenerate the soil, yielding sweet tomatoes and bright green lettuce and collard greens and onions.
Nothing lost. Nothing wasted.
Tonight, I drop the scraps of the day into the bowl beneath the sink. I turn off the lights and leave the dishwasher humming behind me in the dark. My husband and I sit together in the living room, bringing the day to a close. Our conversation turns to times we’ve missed the mark or wasted time or taken people for granted.
The kitchen clock ticks time away into the silence. I run my fingers along the corner of an envelope that is perched on the arm of my chair. The dog sighs deep on the floor at our feet.
My husband's eyes catch mine and then he speaks. Just six words, but they are sure. "Nothing is wasted in God's economy," he says.