This past Sunday morning our country was grieving, processing the reality of even more gun violence, more victims, more vigils. My daughter and I walked to church and the events in Dayton and El Paso were very much on my mind. Then I saw a man walking through the North Pole Community Garden. He carried a medium-sized ceramic bowl full of something. I quickly surmised that he was putting kitchen waste into a Community Composting Station there on the fence line near our raised bed garden. We got to talking as he walked back home. His family was new in town, living about a block away, and he was glad to have a spot to take his compostable things. I told him how glad I was to see the thing being used, and I welcomed him to town. We parted ways.
Of course, community composting will not stop gun violence. These two things may only be linked for me because I care about them both, a lot. Bur we are all processing our grief, lamenting what is. At some point along the healing path, one appreciates one’s own capacity to contribute again, to look around and to offer help to others. It may be a song, or a mural, or some community project. I believe that gardening and composting together creates opportunities for human connection, which is a profoundly healing force. We can share work and share food while we heal our land, and heal ourselves. I believe that the cycle of violence will not overcome the cycle of healing, which is cultivated and watered by small acts of kindness and sacrifice. We cannot mend our country’s divisions overnight, but we can do the next right thing. And the next right thing will help us cling to hope in a time of darkness.