The Etymology of Compost and Timothy Dundon

I have been, for the last year and a half, the custodian and gardener of Timothy Dundun’s garden in Altadena. Alta means“ high” in Spanish. Dena is a local Indian word: it means the pass or passage between the mountains.

Pasadena means: “the pass by the mountains that is low.” We have NASA’s Jet Propulsion lab in Altadena, a stone’s throw from where I write these words.

The French mountaineer, René Daumal wrote:

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.

In the last generation, we have the history of the Vietnam War. America reigned down more bombs on Vietnam and Cambodia than all those dropped in the 2nd World War. It was a war of attrition and eventually the side with the superior fire power had to withdraw when faced with the swampy quagmire of the guerilla warfare of the Vietcong.

Timothy Dundun was a local resident of Altadena and he was of that generation of men who were to be conscripted to fight a horrific war that he did not believe in.

His son was killed, not because of Vietnam, but due to critical social challenges in America, coded into the DNA of the country. Tim entered a chronic depression.

A friend of mine had 6 children. His eldest was a fitness instructor. She pulled out of a parking lot on her motorbike one evening, and a car came out of nowhere, and hit her.

She was dead instantly on impact. It was a hit and run and there were no active cameras that caught it.

She was 26 years old, with everything to live for and much loved. I knew her. She had a lovely boyfriend. She was very sharp and saw through her folk’s silliness.

My good friend, her father, he told me once, in a quiet moment: “Nathan, that one moment in my life broke my heart more than any other thing.”

He was not lying. I could tell by the timber of his voice. Then, he added,

“But one day I woke up and I thought about my daughter and I realized she would not want me to live a moment as a victim of that story.

And so I packed my sorrow and sent it to the bottom of the ocean and I chose to live and focus on my joy and gratitude.”

He did that. I’m proud to call him my friend. That’s no easy challenge to master.

Out of great pain can come important breakthroughs.

Tim threw his heart and sinew into composting. Recently, I have built a compost on his land.

He build a 40 foot mount that smoldered and divided opinion. Mine is 1 foot. But I am not pained by a war and a time of suspicion. I see the value of the earth, and caring for it, but I don’t see the value in putting a big finger up to the rest of the world. We get nowhere valuable when we condemn.

That being said: under the auspices of one unethical authority figure (I have large amounts of evidence to back up that claim) l, I have been harassed by multiple people lately and I will do whatever it takes to defend my rights in this situation. I have taken copious legal measures to self protect. And, wisely so.

Lincoln said that “rightness is provided with the instruments of safety by the heavens.” Naturally, several experienced pro-bono prosecution lawyers (took some searching) and meditation professionals have offered their services. I’m fully prepared either way.

Compost means – its etymology is:

“Something put together.”

Higher life evolved when a symbiotic relationships flowered between one single celled animal and another. Mitochondria became the heart beat of respiration, in that sense.

Similarly, we can see the value of flourishing soils, beyond the pained reactive ignorance of the only imposter here: the pointless wounded ego of man.

Tim made a fundamental discovery in evolutionary ecology. It involves a vine and a tree.

The symmetry of nature is constant and expansive.

You can see the spirit of the root of the word compost playing out here:

The sound of the book, Entangled Life, being devoured by a fungus – with a piano accompaniment

© Copyright 2021 Nathan Curry

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