Monday, April 28, 2008

Responsible Trash Pickin'

In the first six and a half years Al and I and the girls lived in Massachusetts we moved six times. From a dorm room, a campus apartment, a travel trailer in a campground, we bought a house and lost it, then rented a house, rented a basement apartment, and finally we bought the house I live in today. It is situated on an acre of gravel pit turned forest. Surrounding the property on three of the four sides is pavement, highway on one, access road on one, and residential street on the other. When spring comes, I take my annual trip around the perimeter with heavy shoes, leather gloves, and a large garbage bag to collect trash. I filled the bag before making the whole trip. This year fast food waste took a back seat to alcoholic beverage containers...about equal glass and cans. David came out to join me just in time to haul the trash back up the hill to the house. As I lifted the lid of our garbage can, David asked, "What are you doing? It needs to be sorted into the recycle containers." When I finished glaring at him, I had to agree that that was the right thing to do.

Making a life change later in life is much like moving across country. When you are young, you just pack up your clothes and a couple toys for the kids and a water bowl for the dog and take off. You just adjust as you go while you look for your path. But when you are OLDer, moving across country requires hiring a large crane to lift your belongings and jam them into the trailer which can only be pulled by a semi at 5 miles per hour and there's no adjusting, you want MapQuest to have all the directions listed for you including every rest area. Young people are forming their lives as they go. OLDer people already have formed a life and established habits of behavior - lots and lots of baggage. But I believe it can be done. There is one thing that OLDer people have that the young don't - memories.

Tonight I arrived home from work about seven o'clock. The house was rather dark (our normal since we are only turning on lights as needed). David had cooked dinner, lit a fire in the fire place (more for heat then for mood since we turned our furnace off), lit our newly acquired antique oil lamp, and listened to Yo-Yo Ma in the background. While we were eating, I leaned into the lamp light so I could see to read. He said, "Now that's what I remember as a kid!" Looking at him I asked, "You mean I remind you of your grandmother?!" Both of us have memories of a life lived in better harmony with the Earth and our neighbors. We have a mental picture of where we're headed.

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