<March 2007>

Transmutation is defined as “change the form, nature or substance of” and historically, it meant to “change (base metals) into gold” (Oxford Dictionary of Current English, New Revised Edition, 1996).

I say our individual lives – but not just our individual lives – Life! – is about transmutation.

It’s about taking ........ shit, and turning it into gold. (Sorry; can't think of a better or more polite way of saying this!?)

That’s what I think, anyway.

We go through all this stuff – all these experiences – these (sometimes awful) childhoods and marriages and divorces and…life… And we get knocked down, and knocked sideways, and brought to our knees, and we love, and we lose, and we triumph, and sometimes, we despair…

And we get older, and (one hopes) we grow wiser, too.

And gradually, gradually, over time (and without ever meaning to, or, frankly, having any control over the process, you understand), all this stuff that’s happened to us – the negative stuff – the dregs and the dross…hmmm…and all the good stuff, too? – gets all mixed up and transmuted into gold.

We turn shit into gold.

Isn’t this marvellous, wondrous, and miraculous? I sure think so!

For sure, it’s not what we set out to do. What we set out to do, I reckon, we really rather innocent and uncomplicated souls, is to “live happily ever after.” Just like in the fairy tales. Hah, eh?

It’s what happens, though, as our lives proceed (as we are “making other plans,” in the John Lennon phrase). At least, I do believe that is what is supposed to be happening.

I’m not sure everyone realizes this. I think modern life is so darn busy and noisy and frantic that lots of people don’t get quiet enough, often enough, to really hear what’s actually bubbling away down there, beneath the surface.

What’s going on, I think, if we’re clever enough to peer into it, though, is that we are taking shit and transforming it into gold.

Just like compost. Compost is magic! We take all those discarded and “useless” and messy and smelly bits of everyday household kitchen scraps, mix them all up together – with some good old fashioned dirt (or dead leaves) and, after a while, presto! – the messy mixture has miraculously transformed itself into a fabulously rich, fertile soil conditioner – available for future nourishment, growth, sustenance – survival – life

Now, if that ain’t magic, folks, I sure don’t know what is…