The day AFTER Earth Day

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

I try to eschew Earth Day hoopla, because for me every day is Earth Day and it’s a bit too much of preaching to my choir. I’ve been heathen all my adult life, and mysterious Nerthus who gave Her name to our planet is one of my Vanic Deities, the mother of Yngve-Freyr and His twin sister, my Matron Goddess Freyja. The tendency of some to do the right thing only on Earth Day (or worse yet, to do nothing but TALK about it!) makes about as much sense to me as locking yourself into a little box on Sunday for an hour and claiming that after you leave that little box your worship is done for the week. But being a live and let live sort in general, I figure if that’s what gets them their jollies I don’t have to be there to like it, I’ll just go do things my way anyway and it is sure to take me sufficiently away from theirs.

So for my own cynical amusement, I spent the day AFTER Earth Day wondering how much of a haul I’d bring in. The car is full. I am guessing I’ll get about five to seven bucks for what I picked up. Seems to me that there are enough people NOT doing the right thing on Earth Day to the degree that if someone’s going to go out there and pick up cans for an ego trip, I say LET THEM, because it really doesn’t matter WHY they’re doing the right thing so long as they’re bloody well DOING it. Perhaps I should be glad from a financial perspective that I don’t have as much competition out there but believe me, I don’t entirely welcome the opportunity to have a cynical laugh about it.

If I did, I wouldn’t say a single word about it. I’d just do what I do and keep silent and hope no one else would join in. More nickels for little me… right? Wrong.

But that ended up not being the focus of the day. I am occasionally given opportunities by these little trips into the Big Blue Room to learn something else. I have decided to share what I learned with the rest of you about the growing problem of homelessness in this country.

As I wandered through the heavily forested forgotten land behind an abandoned building, I saw three milk crates lined up in a row, carefully placed within a thicket that will probably be impassable a few weeks from now. On top of the crates were plastic bags. It was such a nondescript display of trash that even if it were noticed it would probably have been passed by.

The condition of the clothing was such that I knew it had been there for over two snowy winters. The amazing variety of flora and fauna that had infested the sodden, mostly rotting designer jeans, sweaters and jackets would probably have discouraged someone of less determination; but the person who had put this stuff here was obviously never coming back for it, and I was going to learn about him so that I could tell you his story.

A very high quality jacket fell apart in my hands, the leather still good but the stitching completely gone. A Brooks Brothers wool sweater was next, hopelessly rotted. My heart sank as I pulled out the field jacket, but closer examination showed that this was a Sierra Club copy, not military issue – and in any case no military issue canvas would have rotted as quickly as this stuff had. A T shirt emerged for a plumbing firm in Queens, so that was likely what he did for a living.

For you survivalists out there, take it from me – if you’re going to cache clothing in the woods, putting it in plastic bags and keeping it off the ground on milk crates won’t protect it from prolonged exposure. Three fourths of what was there had to be left there to finish “going back to the Lady”.

There were some items that hadn’t gotten as wet or exposed, and/or hadn’t been as susceptible to the elements due to the nature of the fabric. Some thick wool socks and a pair of heavy duty gloves – the guy was a skiier, it seemed. A sweater made of some polyester blend and another pair of thinsulate gloves. Some sweatshirts. I decided to salvage what I could of these, wash them and put them in a clothing drop. There were even some toiletries. I am guessing the guy had been kicked out of the nearby apartment building, had nowhere else to go or store this stuff. Why he never came back for it I’ll never know. Another casualty to cocaine or heroin addiction? Just another shmoe who lost his job and simply couldn’t find another? Gods know we have enough of that around here. He’s likely either in prison or dead.

Forgotten possessions. Forgotten people. Forgotten land.

We need to salvage what we can. We need to take them back.


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