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How is heat generated in compost? I have heard many scientific explanations but I find myself somewhere between, in some transformational mystery, some alchemy that is inconceivable, rather out of the realm of the conceptual, at a border between manifestation and not. We combine materials, the typical greens and browns in particular ratios in order to generate enough heat to “kill” unwanted seeds and critters. Ironically, it is the critters that do the work for us. Is it that ingestion of substance carries heat deep within its structure? Is plant material a reservoir for the heat of the sun, stored as such until a force is applied to it for its inevitable release? There are all kinds chemistry and physics explanations in play here, but I wonder, if heat transforms the substance that we are so familiar with in our every day lives, what is it that transforms heat? And then what is it that transforms what transforms heat? We could say that this might go on ad infinitum, or ad nauseam, to a sickening or excessive degree (so says Mr. Webster).

But, what of mystery, what of permitting the unknown to be a companion on the journey through the curvilinear pathways of this life? Is there anything inside the infinite mystery that may be manifest in this world, but which we do not see as we rush about, fighting for greenbacks, and the scheduled television extravaganza? It has been said that the senses do not lie. Agreed. Whence can we free the senses from this will o the wisp mind, this conceptualizing, habitual rendering of what we have been subject to from the outside, regurgitated?

And so, and hereabouts and thereabouts, I find myself wishing only to penetrate to the inside of this pile of organic material heating up, and mingle with the creatures that ingest, metabolize, transform, release (?) heat, turn what appears to be dead matter alive, and ultimately utilize this revivified substance in order to revivify plants that will inevitably revivify us, so that we can pile up more of this dead matter and revivify this seemingly “dead” matter that is excreted by so many plants, animals, and human beings, and this goes on and on and on…

Is this the greater circle of life and death and life and death? I think circle, but I would rather think spiral, because we never step in the same river twice, so, we may never repeat with exactitude any process on the surface but the circle always comes around, but the spiral also always comes around, but somehow we are always and ever raised up a slight bit above the mere circle and so it goes…

So, how is heat generated in compost? I find myself not willing to accept only a narrow point of view on this creative process. I demand the mystery speak…

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