What To Expect From A Load of Crap

optimism, bad day, negativity,

I’ve had one of those days. A steaming pile of crap sort of day. You know how it is.

We all have them. When the morning starts out with headache, an angry tailgater or the continuation of some tough circumstances the bad mood usually isn’t far behind. This has a ripple effect. We complain to others, tipping conversational topics toward what grinds and grates. And somehow that negative outlook sets our personal radar to scan for more difficulty on the horizon. Those days rarely improve.

Some of us hold out a little longer. We work hard at emphasizing the positive, which is handy because moods are downright contagious. Studies show an individual’s emotions can influence entire groups (families, playgrounds, workplaces). Positive contagion leads to more cooperation and less conflict. Negative contagion, well, you know how fun that can be. Apparently moods stick like that pink goo from The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.

No one is upbeat all the time. Besides, constantly perky people inspire loathing. But I keep learning the necessity of choosing the way we experience life’s ups and downs. You know how easy it is to focus on five minutes of difficulty rather than the smooth progress of the day. We do it all the time. A child’s angry outburst overshadows hours of sunny cooperation. A colleague’s late return from lunch somehow reflects badly on a week’s worth of work. Or a whole slew of minor problems start to look like a steaming pile.

I’ve discovered while reading Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom that we’re fighting a hard-wired tendency. Our brains pay more attention to the negative than the positive. That was probably helpful when saber-toothed tigers threatened our early ancestors. Not so helpful these days.

Fortunately I live on a small farm where the cows produce loads of actual crap. So I know what to expect from it. Whether mixed in to the garden beds or left in a heap, eventually it bursts into flower.

The same potential lies dormant in our worst days. No matter what, we’re still in charge of our own attitudes. Because “sh*t happens” is only one way to look at it. “Compost happens” too.




Dirt in hand photo courtesy of Tea Cupie

Flower in hand photo courtesy of Prismes

6 thoughts on “What To Expect From A Load of Crap

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  3. Laura, we’re totally gonna have to talk about this. I just became Compostmeister of the Ithaca Court Community Garden.

    Number one, is it really wrong to throw tomatoes in? I heard they just “have too many things” that might infect and infest the gardens.

    Also, is it really okay to have an all-vegan compost with no animal output? It’s what we have to work with.

    I’m all about the practical.


    • You are practical Mark. I write about crappy moods, you reply about compost.

      Congrats on being appointed Compostmeister. Or Waste Czar. I’m sure many more euphemisms apply.

      Tomato seeds survive even the hottest compost piles, I’m told. When I was a teenager, a friend’s family was one of the first to take up our county on a great new offer of “free fertilizer.” Yes, it was treated sludge from the municipal waste system and yes, it didn’t smell great. My friend felt like a pariah. But it got worse. The next spring tomatoes sprouted everywhere on the lawn. Apparently tomato seeds also survive digestion and waste water treatment. The rest of her high school years she was asked if she liked spaghetti with poomato sauce, a little crapsup on her buger—well, you get the idea.

      Vegan compost? You mean with no manure? That’s fine. Vegetation heats up quite nicely especially when chopped fine. Although according to a homesteader’s classic book “Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants,” you’d do that compost pile some good to pee on it. Just saying….


  4. Pingback: Do You Suffer From Mean World Syndrome? « Laura Grace Weldon

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