The Dump

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Larry and I were recently at our county’s Central Transfer Station – that’s a fancy name for dump. Larry had been before, but I had never had the pleasure. When we drove in, we stopped at the guardgate and were happily directed to the “tunnel, all the way to the right.”

It wasn’t as obvious as it sounded.

We accidentally drove down the wrong tunnel. There are three tunnels, the one on the far right was our intended destination to drop off old paint cans, chemicals and a few electronics as we continue to purge, but somehow we drove down the center lane. It was creepy. There was a giant dump truck open on the top, and it was receiving trash from a trap door, the size of a car, above it. It felt like we were on secret property, like we might get caught and questioned in this smelly, putrefying place lit sickly green by fluorescent bulbs. But no one paid any attention to us. We drove out as if we were getting away with something, quickly but calmly.

Once outside, there were people moving things from here to there, county vehicles and random pavilions and no one paid any attention to us. A left turn would take us back to our starting point so we could try this again.

IMG_7586On our second try we found the correct tunnel. It was fastidious – for a dump. There were giant signs for each type of contaminant and pallets beneath them neatly stacked with items homeowners, just like us, had placed in rows. To the right there were what looked like huge walk-in freezers each with its own warning: Flammable, Poison, Corrosive, Oxidizer. When there was no obvious place for electronics, I hailed an official looking person and he pointed further down the line. There, a large old TV was placed nearly in the way with nothing but static and the letters TVs painted on the screen in bright red.

My imagination melded Poltergeist with Ghost Whisperer and I saw the letters written in the blood of a dead man from inside the screen as a clue to his demise. Imagination is not always helpful.

The gentleman overseeing this part of the operation was neatly dressed in something like a mechanic may wear. He was affable and chatting with someone else in this trash tomb. There seemed to be a sense of pride in his work and the place was pretty immaculate – at least in this area – but still it had a stench.

I don’t ever want to go back there. But, if I am a responsible homeowner I will. I don’t expect us to have any more chemicals, but there will be paint cans and electronics and I will not add toxic waste to an already overtaxed landfill.

Do you ever fly? Have you flown over any mountains, in particular over the western United States where they are mostly scrubby and bare? You can really see how they came to be. I’m always mesmerized by the way Mother Earth has shaped (and continues to shape) herself. It’s plain to see how the mountains grew, pushed up and together by shifting plates and how they were shaped by wind and water. It’s so obvious. And beautiful.

Then flying over farmland, especially in the north-east, the earth is blanketed with a patchwork quilt of crops from small farms. Rows neatly planted, some dark green, others brown, but all planted with care. I’m always amazed by the neatness of it all.

But then there are the bodies of unrealistic milky green-blue water and endless crops of the same thing. There are landfills will tiny chimneys placed every so often, very strategically, to allow all the gasses from trash to escape so they don’t explode, I’m guessing. There are rows of buildings that house livestock and waterways cut into the landscape for irrigation where nothing is supposed to grow and to move toxic waste to, where?

I often wonder if it hurts. Mother Earth that is. What does it feel like to have so much foreign matter inserted subcutaneously? And the weird water, does that burn? Are the fields of frankencrops like eczema? Do the islands of plastic in the oceans feel like digestive blockages? Or tumors?

What have we done? And how can we do better?

This field trip was eye-opening. It’s not that I don’t know there is a copious amount of trash out there, I pass two landfills on my way south to visit friends, but that I am contributing to this at all makes me very sad. We’re recyclers (and soon to be composters) but that’s not enough. We have to be more mindful on the front end, about what we bring in. Just the other day I opted for two containers of cut up watermelon instead of the wedge I normally by. They were a bogo and less expensive for the same amount of watermelon. BUT, now I have two plastic containers that I will throw in the recycle bin and hope they make it somewhere to be melted and used again, when I could have tossed a rind back into nature.

It’s catching these things, being present while making buying decisions, that is the work. I have what I have and now that we’re digging in and purging in earnest, it’s helpful to see where we were awake and mindful and what we need to work on.

The lessons and process continues.

Juiced Up

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When I first dreamed up this year of the purge thing it included a few components: body, mind, home, life. The results or byproducts of clearing and cleansing those aspects would include, more energy, more peace, less stuff, and higher consciousness regarding things and their impact on the planet and my life.

Oh, and, more time and money for travel. All roads lead to another road to wander down. There’s always an end game. But I am content to be in the process and see where else it takes me.

I’ve been working on the home aspect, having counted a few areas and filled at least one bag for donation, handed off random things to people I thought may enjoy them, and made lists of other items to go. Now it’s ime to switch gears a bit.

Onto the body. A little cleansing of the meat suit. Which brings us to juicing.

I love juicing. I have mentioned this. As far as a way to cleanse the body and shoot it through with energy, I have found no better, kinder way than juicing.

Like all things good for me, I let juicing go for a while. Why do we do this? Why do we say, ‘oh, yoga is great, I always feel so open and calm after I do yoga,’ then not do yoga for a week? Or is that just me?

Anyway, I thought I had unlocked that mystery or at least crafted a workaround where juicing was concerned.

Like all things awesome there is another side.

THE DOWNSIDES OF JUICING:

It takes time. Vegetables need to be rinsed. I remove the stalk of the kale to help preserve the life of my juicer, so that takes some time. I also remove seeds and stems from apples and pears, cut up large carrots and celery stalks. Maybe most of that isn’t necessary, but it works for me.

And money. A mound of greens the size of a Volkswagen Beetle produces about 12 ounces of juice. Organic greens are not inexpensive. I would love to grown my own and hope to plant as soon as it’s time, but until then, I buy.

Plus, juicers don’t come cheap. A good one will be $200 and up.

Waste. Once the liquid is extracted, all the fiber gets shot into the waste bin and it’s a lot. If you don’t have a compost bin, it just goes into the trash. That health fiber could be the start of the aforementioned garden.

Back to time: Most juicers have many parts and they all have to be cleaned. Mine has 7.

THE UPSIDE OF JUICING:

Energy, cleansing, energy. Juicing as opposed to smoothies provides a shot of nutrients because the fiber is removed. There’s nothing to slow down the digestive and assimilation process. I’m a big fan of smoothies too, but if it’s energy in a hurry I want, juicing is my go to.

So how to minimize all this if I’m in a time crunch?

THE WORKAROUND:

Purchasing cold pressed juices I trust. I am partial to the brand Suja. Until, of course, I learn that they have been purchased by one of the major soft drink companies who will undoubtedly change the formulas to include some sort of poison wrapped in a healthy name I can’t pronounce. But, as of yet, this has not happened. I hope. But, these juices come in plastic bottles and that makes me a little sad.

Knowing that 80% of what we toss into our recycle bins ends up at the landfill gives me pause every time I purchase something. It’s daunting. It has to be a process and that’s what I’m in the middle of right now.

Instead of taking the shortcut and buying my energy – and honestly the effect doesn’t seem as immediate with the store-bought elixir – I have to change some habits. I have to be consistent in what time I get up each morning to allow enough time for this important aspect of The Plan.

There is a back-up plan. A back-up to the back-up, if you will.

THE OTHER WORKAROUND:

Smoothies. I have my eye on a Vitamix. I have a 20% off coupon and a $100 gift card that will drop the price to about $350 but that is still an investment. Smoothies also have incredible health benefits with the added bonus of less produce waste and more options. I can throw a banana or an avocado in a Vitamix along with wheat grass powder and almost anything else. And the best part? One thing to clean and it does that on its own.

But it’s another appliance. *SIGH*

This mindful conscious thing is a lot of work. It’s a process. And totally worth it.