I seem to be shifting how I view things, finding my authority from inside, rather than from outside. Yesterday I was looking at what made something Sacred and today, Beauty, and my definition of it, seems to be easing towards something new.

As I was looking out from the center of the labyrinth, my gaze fell upon my compost bin. Normally, I look up, past it, to the Stag Tree that is behind it and focus my gaze there, usually almost consciously not looking at the compost bin, because I have judged it not worthy.

Today, I noticed it, noticed the interesting pattern that the wire makes, with the rich, brown compost below and the piles of green bits on top. The potato and beet and onion sprouts that are getting taller, and just appreciating the whole decomposition.

I don’t turn my compost pile any more.

I stopped turning my compost pile the year Megan was six, 1998. It was Buddha’s birthday. Here’s why I remember all of this.

It was a beautiful weekend day in spring. Megan and Kyle were playing around in the yard, Mark was down at the bottom of the property working on clearing ditches or something. I was moving compost from our pile down to the flower beds in front of the house. As I was digging up the compost pile, I hit a large pocket of straw. This seemed odd to me, but I didn’t think a whole lot about it.

I wheeled the barrow down to the front of the house and dumped the compost in the bed. As I was spreading the compost out with my shovel, I thought, “Potates? We have potatoes growing in the compost pile?” And then, “EWWWW! It moved!”

As I bent to look at what I had found, I discovered that it was a a baby gopher. At the time, I didn’t think kindly towards gophers. They ate the roots of my veggies, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it.

I headed down to find Mark to see if he would be willing to kill it (it makes me cringe now to think that I was even thinking about that, but I was). At that point, Megan ran up and asked what was going on.

I showed her the gopher and she said, “Momma, what are we gonna do with it? We need to make a nest for it and find a home for it! Can I keep it?”

Well, no, you can’t keep it. Hmmmmm, so I ended up calling around, finding the local native gopher rescue place and we took the baby gopher there. It turns out that the gopher was probably between 4-6 hours old, and there was probably another one left in that straw bed that I dug up. If there was, it was gone by the time I went back to look.

This spirals me back around to defining beauty. Before that event, I didn’t like gophers; I could only see their destructive powers, but holding an infant in my hands changed all that.

Now, the compost bin stays where it is, because if there is a gopher nest below it, I don’t want to disturb that. I’m content to know that my vegetable waste is being composted and may possibly be providing warmth and shelter for a family of gophers.