Garbage

A warm June morning, the air so still, the sky full blue, my mind so free. Perhaps I’ll take another camping trip in Big Sur before schools let out and the city people come out in full summer bloom on the coast.

A bonfire last evening, using wood scraps from the building project that continues. I’m learning to measure the progress of this ongoing project by seeing what kinds of material pile up on the rubbish heap. Soon the scraps will turn from hacked-off lengths of lumber to snipped and stripped electrical wire, odd angles of scored sheet rock, and empty buckets of wall paint. Perhaps that is the most effective way to take note of the advance of civilization, by what is left behind, tossed, hauled away.

The last I went to the county dump I noticed a lot of broken toys, cracked and busted household goods, no-good furniture, painted lumber, weekend clean-up projects loaded into the bed of a neighbor’s pickup truck. Maybe this is where we have come to in our history, shoveling and recycling objects that were never meant to last very long, but appealed to us in the immediacy of the moment when first purchased, and hauled home from the all-in-one store. Perhaps there never was any intent to preserve any of this stuff, but rather buy it cheap, enjoy it as long as possible, dispose of it quickly and easily, and get more of something new to keep the shopping joy alive.

We make efforts to recycle what has become broken or useless, so that the materials might come back to us again another day in another form, for our further use or amusement. What might life be like if most of the objects we bought lasted, say, a hundred years?

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