in unrelated news we make a lot of fucking trash.

It feels as if I have been travelling to new england almost every weekend since the new year.  On a recent train ride from Vermont to New Jersey I sat in the window seat.  I love riding the train.  It is one of my preferred modes of travel.  Recent Amtrak crashes aside.  At age 21 I rode a train from the 413 to Seattle.  The only disappointment was that we went through the rockies at night.  Needless to say I was looking forward to my ride.  I had some writing to do and was anticipating getting some work done as well.  I did not get any work done and I only wrote a few pages because I was so distracted by the trash.

Granted there is a specific bleakness to rural new england when a recent rain has melted the snow and left piles of plowed gravel and detritus in its stead.  But the light on this Sunday afternoon in mid January was gentle and lovely. Grey linen sheets of clouds hung low and let the sun create moody shadows.  I have always loved winter because one can see the shape of the earth without her full bloom and foliage.  There is a starkness to the slope of a mountainside silhoetted against the trunks of a bare forest that I love.  Unfortunately all of the garbage I saw loomed larger than the winter landscape.  The rotting cars, piles of discarded plastic, forgotten along the train tracks practically screamed to me during my ride.  

I should admit I’ve recently been thinking quite a lot about how much stuff I throw away.  The @trash_canyon_ account on Instagram is a very interesting experiment in examining our relationship to waste and consumerism.  I am currently reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders.  My only interest in the recent cultural disaster most people call the super bowl is if it was actual #zerowaste as it had been advertised to be.  I can’t seem to find anything post fiasco to know if they were able to meet their goal of 90% waste diversion.  Here at home we have curbside compost, our recycle bin is always full and we have a half bag of trash a week.  So we pay attention to what and how we throw away our waste.  We are the minority.

Trash is everywhere.  I didn’t get my work done on the train because I was fixated by all the trash accumulated on the side of the railroad tracks, against fences, in abandoned parking lots, crumbling buildings, junkyards full of rotting cars, swamps full of trash bags, yards full of rusting yard equipment.  It was overwhelming.  

I am not sure what actions will rise from this overwhelm.  But I felt as if I needed to state my current mindset.  It’s too early to tell how this feeling will weave into my current work.  The least we can do is start talking about our trash, that is the first step to taking responsibility for our actions.