This morning I got up early and looked outside. There was a large shattered bottle of Olde English 800 all over the curb at the edge of my house, plus an unbroken beer bottle lying a few feet away. It seemed like it was time to pick up trash. I grabbed a bag, put on a jacket and went out.
Since it got cold there's a lot less trash on the street. In some ways, that makes it more enticing to pick up, because it seems less fruitless a task. Still, the only way to approach picking up trash around here is with the same mentality of a Zen monk making a sand mandala--you have to remember it's about impermanence. The result just won't last very long.
The process of picking up trash is exactly the opposite process of making a sand mandala--instead of putting together something elaborate, you're taking away as much as you can to reveal what's underneath. It's shocking how calming it is to see a few dozen yards of bare ground after picking up chip bags, broken glass, sticks, plastic cups, trial size Scope bottles (somebody was hurting for a high), flyers and circulars, old McDonald's coffee cups, and even what appeared to be a frozen pork chop. OK, I didn't actually pick that up--I kicked it like a hockey puck into the alley next to a dumpster and called it good enough.
And of course, once I was done picking up trash along the block, I went back in the house for a bit, came back out and found a gum wrapper had already blown into the patch I cleared between my house and the corner. I picked it up and headed for the dumpster, decided I wanted things to stay pristine just a few minutes longer.
- ► 2009 (82)
- Dorothy's Night Plan
- Oldest Brady Boy's High School Applications
- Chilling with Dorothy
- The Zen of Trash Pickup
- And Now for Something Completely Different
- Martial Arts at St. Joseph's
- A Visit to Rehab
- Pre-Thanksgiving Update
- Dorothy Called
- Heard on the Curb
- From Grant Park to Marshfield Avenue
- "That's all it takes to stay clean"
- A Safe Halloween for Back of the Yards
- Cooper's Hawk on Marshfield Avenue
- ▼ November (14)
- ► 2007 (142)
- ► 2006 (105)