The first day of winter and I emptied the food scraps after they’d reached tipping point into the compost bin in our back garden.
It’s a tedious task but on my trudge across the back garden I sense the excitement of what I will find when I lift the lid.
Even in the cold of winter the worms scramble for cover as soon as the light shines on them, their pink ridges rippling, as they fall down from what to them must be a great height.
There are all these tiny black beetles too. They line the lip of the compost bun. Some fall off and into the decaying food below while others, like a few of the stalwart worms, cling on.
I’ve been composting myself of late, up there inside my head, a sense of not much happening beyond the regular day to day and at the same time the hope that soon enough something new will emerge.
We have another grandchild on the way and that’s new and big.
Every day I think about this baby and the awe of my family history or at least of some aspect of that history, including the timing of my own birth.
The daughter who carries this baby is more or less the same age now as I was when I carried her, more or less the same age as my mother when she carried me.
My mother already had four babies by the time I came along, four live babies and one dead one. And, I had already two babies living by the time this daughter who now carries her first.
The immensity of it all.
We’ve had a cold snap of late. The coldest May day in 17 years.
What’s the point of statistics like this other than to comfort us into thinking it’s not just in our imaginations that we’re colder than usual and also in some crazy way to stave off fears of climate change and the earth warming?
My husband tells me it’s going to grow more temperate soon enough and we’re in for a dry, not so cold, winter beyond these few freezing days. As if anyone, even the bureau of meteorology, can predict the future to that extent.
I’m wary of statistics but have no doubt about climate change. Only the optimist inside tells me something good will happen.
This is my crazy internal mantra. Whenever anything bad happens I tell myself something good will happen. Something to offset the sadness or madness or badness of recent events, like when I cop another writing rejection, or when I find myself troubled by the recent election result and a hint of despair creeps in, not for me so much as for those asylum seekers held in detention year after year.
I can’t shake off the thought as I put a sad face to the likes section of Facebook, when yet another horror story emerges.
Over thirty people in detention have tried to kill themselves since the election.
An expression of sorrow or anger is not enough.
And my mind pitches back into the past before I was born when news of what was happening to the Jewish people in Europe during the early 1940s must have trickled through the limited media of the day.
And people closed their minds to the atrocity, to the unthinkable, just as we are doing today.
Because we feel helpless or don’t want to know. Life is hard enough without having to add the extra burden of those in trouble. And these days we have so much exposure.
I think of what’s happening in America. The banning of abortions in Alabama and Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Talerears its head. An unthinkable future in a world that is Taliban dominated or a world in which the extreme right-wing conservative elements that breed racism and misogyny dominate in face of the fears of change.
‘Let’s try to turn the clock back,’ these largely middle aged and old while males, say, for fear of losing their entrenched privilege. Let’s keep women back in the position of servants and let’s not let those other people whose skin is not white have too much of a say in the running of our countries.
Let’s keep the other out. The other is a threat to the status quo. Let’s not think too much about the need to adjust to a changing world in terms of climate change because a changed world is one to which we need adjust and it’s hard enough growing old.
It’s hard enough having to adjust to the rapid rate of technological change. The things the young people can do with their computers and gadgets that leave us far behind.
Let’s do our best to keep things as they were in the good old days.
Of course, that doesn’t work. Change is our one great certainty.
The worms wriggle off the walls in the compost pin whenever I pitch in an extra load and soon enough the bin will be full and I will need to let it sit a while longer till it composts and then we’ll tip it over the garden and it will enrich the soil to make way for new growth like this new baby who will soon enough enter our midst.