Sunday, October 26, 2008

Would you like flies with that?

We moved into our first-floor-of-a-1920's-two-family condo this past spring. By June, the top floor was purchased by a lovely couple who share similar values when it comes to community, house care, health, and the environment, among other things. By July, a composter moved into our backyard. The upstairs neighbors and I wasted no time in using the composter, but Mr.B&B has been slower to respond.

For months Mr.B&B has been reluctantly placing coffee grinds into the pre-composter container I placed on the window sill above the sink in the kitchen. Occasionally he inquires about its contents. "Hair? Dryer lint?" I patiently list off some of the items that are safe for composting and why. Last week things changed.

Last week was a big adjustment for me and Mr.B&B. In addition to class two nights a week, homework, housekeeping, and errands, I began my internship on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and my volunteer position at Perkins School for the Blind on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. This meant that the composting really piled up in our kitchen and Mr.B&B couldn't take it anymore. He asked to be introduced to the composter. I showed him how to line up the arrows to remove the cover. As the cover came off the flies emerged and Mr.B&B let out an "Ewwwwwwwwww!" I told him the flies are integral to composting and to please bear with me. After the cover was safely locked back onto the composter, I more fully explained the importance of the flying bugs, that the compost is their food and that they are needed to help break down the materials in the composter and turn them to nutrient rich soil. Innocently he asked, "Do the flies come with the composter kit?" I let out a giggle and told him that the flies are naturally drawn to the composter in their quest for food, but we can manage them by adding more leaves, mixing more thoroughly, etc. Now, when we sit down for a meal I let out a teasing, "Would you like flies with that?"

The flies got me thinking about bigger things:
All beings have the same basic needs (food, water, shelter).
With the desirable comes the not so desirable.
We should think about what we put out into the world because it attracts certain results (people, things, opportunities).
Balance is the key to a peaceful, fruitful life.

All these thoughts came rushing forth thanks to the innocent question, "Do the flies come with that?"

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