Metaphorically Speaking – Manure Happens

step 12 magazine manure happens

by Karen VanDenBerg

It’s not something you see every day in the heavily populated area of Southern California. However, in more rural parts of the country, it’s common to be whif-matized by its pungeant, yet sweet-smelling essence long before you’re close enough to step in it.

During a brisk walk on a sunny day, my friend was heading back to her house. She wasn’t alone. She was returning with a friend after a day at the local farmer’s market. They walked in the door, put down their packages and my friend promptly dug out her shovel and headed back out of the gate towards town.

Her friend asked what she was doing.

“I’m not going to leave those cow-patties in the middle of the road,” she replied.

So, with shovel in hand, she walked back to the place where she’d seen the fresh piles of cow dung, scooped them into her shovel and carried them back to her garden. This metaphor is more than just “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Even when there is shit in the middle of the road, we really don’t want to acknowledge it. We walk around it. We pretend it isn’t there. We effectively block it from our view. It goes to waste. It just ends up festering, rotting, and feasted upon by mother nature’s amazing ecosystem. But without fail, it is recycled and reborn as the same shit—different manifestation.

Instead of allowing that to happen, my friend faced the piles of poop on her journey and she scooped them up and took ownership of them. After the patties dried out, she broke them down, split them up into smaller more manageable pieces, and spread them around her garden. They’ve been processed.

As a direct result of handling the unpleasantness with energy and purpose, she will have a garden of vegetables rich in nutrients that will feed her body and soul.

That’s how it seems to work. When we take care of stinky messes on our path and see the potential for new growth in the aftermath, we blossom. The next time you come across some bullshit in the road, remember … you can either step in it, step around it, or scoop it up and put it to good use. Our gardens can flourish.

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