In spite of heavy use, the water, shoreline, and highway are kept relatively clean.  But you can’t escape the culture, and our culture generates a lot of garbage, much of it never collected or recycled.  Everyone learns to pretty much ignore it _ if it doesn’t fit into the pattern of how beautiful everything is while you are taking time to do so, you try not to see it.  Of course, some artists reverse the process and shove it in our faces. 

Doesn’t matter _ it is still there.  As the paperback spiritual guides often assert, there must be Buddha in the discarded beer can as well as in the swan.  Those of us less sophisticated just realize that it is part of everything.  Deposit requirements have helped a lot with cans and bottles since I was a kid, and in general trash is better taken care of than a few decades ago, at least in this little local area.

Some trash is kinda cute and picturesque.  Some is just plain ugly.  An inconsiderate oaf unloaded this pile, and now it awaits _ what?  High tide, garbagemen going beyond the call, a civic-minded citizen?

It’s precisely at this pile that I part ways with libertarian tea-party fanatics.  My simple solution is to pay a government to clean up the common areas and punish the oafs.  Their brilliant idea is either to let the junk pile up forever or let the roadside be sold to a private interest who will keep it clean but restrict the view so the rest of us can’t enjoy it.  I believe in common heritage, common rights, and common responsibility, including access and control of common natural areas.  Libertarians do not.  Simpletons.


Not a bad harvest for a strong wind pushing flotsam into the wall.  Mostly leaves, a few bottles and the inevitable loose buoy.  Of course, the glass and metal sinks, so you never see it, the paper rots away, and most of the plastic, we are told, turns into a kind of oceanic mush that permeates the world’s seas and will not go away for thousands of years.

Nevertheless, the general pattern seems to be more considerate than it used to be.  Most people, at least around here, have accepted that the world is finite, and that the environment is precious.  Social pressure can influence individual behavior far more than laws, and right now that social pressure concerning trash disposal is pretty good.

Well, most people would probably say this is not trash.  After all, it’s carefully in a bag and on the road and will be picked up by the town and magically disappear from the landscape.  And yet, it is trash.  It will join tons of other material on our landfill, which grows larger daily.  Eventually, as the icecaps melt and the sea rises, perhaps only the landfills will jut up from where Huntington used to be.

I’m as guilty as anyone.  If you are part of a culture, you pretty much need to accept a lot of that culture.  We are trying to change over time, but we are far past my boyhood days when we buried cans in a trench in the back field,  composted all the organics, and didn’t have enough surplus to be picked up more than once a week. 


Even in the midst of the garbage crisis, nature continues
on its merry way.  The bittersweet turns orange, the ailanthus goes brown.  We wonder how much of our proclivity will finally end it all.

I ask, what can I do?  Is there anything one person can change, or is it all ordained by heaven, for us to accept as we will?  I wish I had an answer.  In the meantime, I just enjoy the season and the signs all around.

Sat –


I suppose it’s colorful enough, just another human pattern at the interface between civilization and nature, but when it strikes your consciousness (which it often does not, because we suppress so well) trash heedlessly thrown in beauty is jarring.  We hardly ever pay artists to create hideous works, so creative efforts usually go in the direction of apologizing for the junk and making it somehow pretty and interesting.

Nevertheless, that is a lie.



Eventually, a lot of garbage just fades into the underbrush, decaying gracefully or not.  Since we cannot get people _ at least all people _ to be responsible in disposing of their leftovers it seems the only real solution is to make it as innocuous and organically degradable as possible.  It’s not a good solution, especially in the long term _ but its better than the current alternatives.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s