Tuesday, June 21, 2016


A parched Compost Pile isn't pretty. It looks sad, depressed, and due to the dust from fungus spores it's unpleasant to turn. Nor does heat and humidity aid the process of turning a Compost Pile. This Compost Pile was mostly the longer grass cut some weeks ago. The grass was layered with a sprinkle of soil, and each layer had been grossly under-watered. The weight of the upper layers acted as a press upon the lower layers. The result on the lower layers of this pressing was a kind of thick paper that reminded me of my fellow compost pile maker who lives too far away and who when the mood strikes actually makes paper from compostable plant material. Inevitably imagination led your gardener to leap to the conclusion that centuries ago, it was a gardener around a Compost Pile that first observed the Paper Making Process and odds are he or she reacted to it as poorly as I did, he bashed it up with his pitchfork and shovel, and he then drowned it.

There's a story about Einstein, who in his youth was travelling to the Patent Office where he worked on patents that had to do with transmission of electrical signals. On the train he stared at the telephone or electric poles and watched them as the train moved past them. And there was something about the relationship between the moving train and the utility lines that solved a problem of understanding he'd been working on in his own time and which he'd been discussing with a group of friends. The paper that emerged from his thoughts seemed to solve the problem others had grappled with. I imagine it was a very exciting moment for him. This same group of friends had discussed Hume, an English Political Philosopher who was the star of the empiricists, the skeptics and those who reckoned there was an order of things that had no space in it for anything that did not arise from observable natural causes. Einstein was a circle man, so was Hume.

1 comment:

Gin said...

Interesting theory, that about the first papermaker. Dard Hunter would have been quite impressed with your process of discovery.