My friend Tim and I were discussing tomorrow’s Tilth sale over lunch yesterday when our talk turned to worms. Tim, who owns Good Nature Publishing, considers himself what he calls a “Jedi knight of worm bins”, having wrangled worms for decades and set up about half a hundred worm bins for other people around the community. These are the small red wigglers that eat your food waste and turn it, over time, into the fluffiest, darkest garden soil you could ever hope for.
I made a worm bin once, and my wigglers successfully turned months of coffee grounds and other non-meat food scraps into a small heap of satisfying, rich compost. But today I made the comment that wormbinnery always seemed to me like a lot of time and effort invested for a relatively small amount of soil.
“You sound like such an antsy New Yorker when you say that,” said Tim, who never fails in his service to truth in conversation, and in whose speeches New Yorkers often appear as the chorus of insanity. He mimicked me: “I gotta have my soil right now. I don’t want to wait.”
His rebuff continued. “What else were you doing with that stuff? Just throwing it away, right? This is a long-term investment.”
Then he said this:
“Listen, what you’re doing with a worm bin is getting ready to die. It teaches you how to die and what to expect. We’re all going that way, and the worm bin shows you just how dark and still it is in there, and quiet. It’s a spiritual journey, and it’s up to you whether or not you want to take that journey.”
Okay, well, I say idiotic things sometimes. It’s a problem I’ve had since childhood, similar to laughing when you hear of someone getting hit by a car. (It’s also possible I’m an idiot, but research so far is inconclusive on this point.) So I took the earful and am considering once again starting a worm bin, peering into the maw of death, reaping the loamy rewards of both heaven and earth.
All in good time.