Garden Project week 7: The Children of Compost
(inspired by Harraway’s Camile story):
We, the children of compost were born of the four winds colliding at the time of our inception. We have different winds, some have more southerly, easterly or westerly winds. Some are more northerly. But their markings are in our finger whorls and the way our hair falls. We were created from spaces, the thin subtle bodies of our internal matrixes shaped by the soft exchange of gases within our cells. This journey never ended. Like mushrooms we continue metamorphosing, decaying, composting and reforming. We know about the trees because, like them, we respire in order to sustain ourselves, each of us using what the other doesn’t need. We recycle each other’s waste in infinite feedback loops. They are our symbionts with whom we share the air which formed us. We are careful not to produce too much waste, so as not to overwhelm their systems and at the same time destroy our own habitat.
Each of us has our own family or trees. I come from the Pinus Sylvestris, from the northern hemisphere. We are good at living in compromised circumstances, we can bend ourselves around most challenges and but can’t compete with our Angiosperm cousins for the light, so we prefer the rougher ground where there is more chance of reaching the sky above. My cousin is from the Rosacae, she can hybridize easily making it sometimes hard to recognise her under her many guises. A part of me is human and I have appropriated her in many ways as have many of my kind in kind. She has been appropriated in many ways by the human beings - not least as the bearer of the forbidden fruit - a story which severed the humans from their right to know their symbiont families, believing they were not a part of the rest of us. We are sad for them. They believe their ancestors were banished and that we are not somehow inextricably linked to one another. But their hurt has been covered by hundreds of years of denial and they seem deaf to our voices of protest.
In a few days we will perform a healing ritual for one of our kin. She is an apple tree with many holes in her trunk. She has endured, finding a way to continue against uncertain odds. We would like to hear her story and though our healing ritual may look like it is for her, actually it is for the human parts of ourselves.