Each community has its own methods for collecting or hauling trash and recycling. The town where I live does not charge for these services however each household is responsible for getting our refuse to the Transfer Station which is open four days a week. To make the dump run more interesting I often combine it with other tasks such as returning library books or going to the farm stand, a bit less boring and, hopefully more fuel efficient. Dump runs manage to be a fairly routine chore in all households.
On a recent dump run a young Red Tailed Hawk had perched on a light post beside the trash compactor. Thinking that it would take off at any second, I pulled slightly out of the lane to have a better look. The hawk had claimed the pole and wasn’t interested in budging and, joy, I had brought a camera. I snapped away, thrilled to be as close as I had ever been to one of these magnificent birds. My enthusiasm was not shared and one of the transfer station attendants came over to tell me to move out of the way because I was blocking the lane. The sting of reprimand stayed with me as I drove away understanding that the business at hand was not to be disrupted by the glorious proximity to wildlife.
For years I’ve talked about wanting a bumper sticker that declares “ Warning: I Brake for Birds”. I find myself ill suited to this rush-rush world zooming so fast and so caught in head thoughts, missing the world of nature that surrounds us. Before I moved to Maine my work drive was always the longer route where open fields and woods hinted always of possibility. One frosty Fall morning a huge Eastern Coyote stood just inside a fence waiting for me to pass so he could be cross the road and be on his way. The field in which he was standing was filled with dried brown-gray grasses. The coyote was also brown-gray, and where he stood was in perfect harmony within light, white edgings of frost and those yellow coyote eyes. I stopped the car, without a camera, trying to imprint the perfection of the light and the creature in my mind’s eye. A red minivan approached and I waved my arm from my open window, an attempt to signal the driver to slow down enough to share this witness. The car was filled with children probably on their routine morning school run. I never knew if they saw the coyote.
Can you think of the magnificence you’ve witnessed from the windows of your car or house? Aren’t such memories of wildlife or landscape still with you?
I left the dump still stinging from the reprimand. I headed over to the marsh to see if a glimpse of a different critter could soothe my “you stepped out of line” embarrassment. Sure enough, there were shorebirds feeding in the last light of the day and the camera was still beside me.
Watching wild in all it’s beautiful manifestations always heals even if we have to step outside the acceptable bounds of the humans around us.