Saturday, September 22, 2012

Boots and Middens


When I arrived in Santa Fe, back when the fall of '01 was heading into the winter of '02, one of the first things I did was attend a screening of "Endurance," a documentary about the Shackleton Expedition to the South Pole. It's an adventure that's always intrigued me. It was appearing at what became one of my favorite movie houses, then known as Plan B, a single screen with stadium style seats. It made for nice viewing in polite company.

While I was waiting in the lobby for the previous film to end a man approached me and started talking about the movie we were both going to see. Well, what was put in motion that night ended up being a nice friendship with many interesting dates. We saw Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain in Albuquerque, as well as a Russian ballet troupe performing a ballet based on "Spartacus." That's right. There were stringed quartets, symphonies and orchestras. We also watched and listened to Elizabeth Futral, a well-known soprano, sing a variety of arias at an auditorium in Los Alamos. It was very moving. A handsome, dark-haired man in front of us sat quietly, not moving a muscle, tears rolling down his cheeks.

But none of those events were our first date. No, our first date was going to the landfill together. It was actually a rather clever way to get things rolling. He had to make a trip there, he invited me along, and ever since I have used landfills to take care of my garbage instead of a truck picking it up at my house. It's way cheaper and I like to do it myself. You are aware, of course, that's where the garbage you have picked up every week goes, right? The stuff we don't recycle? It does not disappear into the truck and then the ether. It goes into the ground. One day, years hence, archaeologists are going to do some rather extensive digs around here and we're not going to look very good. We've taken the idea of a midden to a whole 'nother level.

Anyway. The landfill in Santa Fe - El Dorado, outside of Santa Fe, to be exact - was state of the art as landfills go. I paid twenty dollars for the year and that gave me ten trips, which was exactly right for me.

Time appearing to do what it does, another winter came along, I believe it was '07, not an "Endurance" kind of winter, but I needed a pair of snow boots for the first time since arriving there. All the winters had been very mild and basically snow-free. But this particular winter the snow came on New Year's Eve and didn't let up until late the next night thirty seven inches later. Plows are almost non-existent in New Mexico so we were snow bound for about five days.

In the meantime, we found rather creative ways to shovel snow. Friends up the road used the lid to their garbage can. I used a spade. In 30 minute increments and with the sun shining it wasn't half-bad; if you get into the rhythm, it moves along quite nicely. As a matter of fact, I kind of like shoveling snow as long as it doesn't get Sisyphus-like.

After arriving at some form of acceptance I knew it was time to get those winter boots. Ugly Uggs were very popular but I didn't want to spend the do-re-mi, so I just put it out there, not outlining what my boots should look like or when they should show up, although I mentioned that soon would be good. Where they would show up, of course, became the fun part.

Not long after I put that request out to the universe I had to make a trip to the landfill. When I was done throwing  the detritus of my life into the pit, as I was getting back in the car, something caught my eye near the big doors where sometimes people would put nicer things they thought someone might be able to use when their use for them had been exhausted. There my boots were, waiting for me, almost brand new, in that ubiquitous tan and size 11. Not exactly a usual woman's shoe size, but my size.



So you see, that first date had a purpose even if the subsequent ones didn't. Fun as they were. That's how I learned about the landfill. Funny how things get set in motion and where they take us.

Happy Autumnal Equinox. Here are the Moody Blues to help us welcome it:








Image: autumn at Lonewolf 2011.

40 comments:

  1. Bellissimo scatto autunnale, buona serata

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    1. Thank you, Simo. It's always a pleasure to hear from you!

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  2. You know how to weave a tale. I didn't know how the boots were going to fit in, and then they did perfectly! Very nice.

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    1. A little loop-de-loop, but I get there, eventually. Thanks, Galen!

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  3. Endurance is one of my most favorite books! Isn't it nice when things come to us :)

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    1. Caroline Alexander's? It's in my Top 5. I'm thinking of a re-read this winter.

      yes, it certainly is....

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  4. Your writing is a gift to the world. Thanks for this great post, and thanks for you. Happy Autumn! :)

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    1. Will! your own post this morning encouraged me to find some music to go with it. Thanks so much for the kind words of encouragement. They mean a lot to me. Happy Autumn!

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  5. Interesting to hear familiar names of New Mexico. I used a transfer station while in NM, the in-between dumping site of the actual landfill and the home pick-up, I got into such a habit of using one. When I moved to KY I looked for another transfer station to use for my rubbish. I only need to use it every three months as I compost all the food scraps (can do as I don't eat meat)

    El Dorado had the best yard sales. I bet you could have found great boots there too. I lived north of there in the Glorieta Mountains.

    Nice post -- barbara

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    1. Transfer station/landfill. This was a bit of both. yes, I compost, too, but not with the science I should. Maybe next year.

      El Dorado was such a great place to live. Space around houses, greenbelts for hiking, nice vistas, and cool houses. I loved living there. walking down the road while watching the sunsets was outstanding.

      I guess I didn't have to go garage saling, the Universe set it up for me, other wise. :)

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  6. Hi Teresa,

    Living in the Pocono mountains, we get a lot of snow, although we caught a break with a mild winter last year. Our first winter here, in 1998, we were astonished by the severity and the frequency of the snowfalls. By mid-winter the mounds would block my view of the road, and I'm 6'3"!

    We love to put items that we retire, but may be useful to someone else, by the roadside. They get snapped up pretty quickly. We've also been the beneficiaries of that scenario, so I think it's good when people do that instead of carting those items away to the landfill.

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    1. I'm back in Minnesota now, and it's been weird. Much lighter snow than when I was younger. The Poconos is a lovely area.

      I've often done that, too. It's nice to offer things up to whomever might need them.

      Thanks, Ray!

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  7. This was a fun dump run. They usually are. Thanks for leaving some bread crumbs to get me here.

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    1. Always. I'm so glad I discovered it. Thanks for picking up the trail...

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  8. Wonderful post, Teresa, and a whole new take on landfills.

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    1. One of Life's funny little lessons. Thanks, Penny.

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  9. Maybe I should try shopping at that landfill! Now you have me thinking about the coming of snow, when there is so much to do before it arrives.

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    1. I hear you. I need to keep moving, lots to do. But, time for hiking in the mountains for you, much to my delight.

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  10. What a fine way to find those snow boots, and just in time. What? You mean the garbage doesn't just evaporate? Who knew? :-)

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  11. Such a delight, I might just have to come back to give this one another read =]

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  12. Years ago, The National Lampoon did a spoof of the Desiderata which was quite popular at the time. The line that I remember goes,"You are a fluke of the Universe, you have no right to be here". I'm always conflicted about "putting it out to the universe" since it sorta seemed to work for me once. But, wouldn't it have happened anyway? And even if the universe had an intelligence, why would the universe give a fig about me?
    There was another line to the bogus Desiderata that I remember--something about your dog getting enough cheese. Sigh...

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    1. See Blissed Out Grandma's response. Ditto to what she said :)

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  13. It Has Shades Of Cinderella ......with Furry Boots instead of Golden Slippers + The local landfill instead of the local Ball!
    Maybe its the size of America ,but here in little England we don't do "The Landfill Thing". We have a local "Tip" which the council runs + is free at the point of use....but they just burn it (i think!) I must check tho...perhaps we ship all to The States in David Beckham fashion...... ?????

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    1. And not the tiny little "boots" of fairy tales. :) And no Prince Charming to place them on my feet. LOL. But they were there for me, fitting perfectly.

      Thanks, Tony. Your response has cheered me and I'm grateful.

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  14. I love this story, from the fine arts to the landfill. And Uggs coming your way, in your size! Mine only ever came by UPS. I admire your way of putting things out to the universe. I think it has a way of aligning one's life with the bigger picture, and in that way it can make things happen. I'm going to ponder that now.

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  15. I am glad you got your boots!
    Santa Fe is one of the places we are thinking of going when my husband retires. It is interesting to hear how the snow.

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    1. You would not be disappointed in SF. It's a beautiful and interesting place.

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  16. Teresa, you can bet I will remember this story in the future, every single time I think about shit-canning anything wearable that I can't use anymore. I will wash it and fold it and package it off to somewhere it can find its new owner.

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    1. "shit-canning." I haven't heard that term in ages! LOL

      Recycling has many aspects, and to throw anything that someone else could use seems very wasteful to me anymore. I'm glad to hear this allowed for another way of seeing things, and so good to "see" you.

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  17. Putting things 'out there' is not something I've ever done or even thought of. Do you do this a lot and are your requests usually met? I must certainly have a go.

    It's a lovely story; I like making friends in unusual ways, they are usually the more unusual kind of friends too. I fact, you do a lot of things I'd like to copy. Your life seems so much less stream-lined than mine and I envy you for it.

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    1. I do this often and almost without fail they are met. Please do. Just ask. There's a saying that goes along with it: "You'll see it when you believe it." :)

      I'm grateful for our friendship, Friko. You have an openness and an honesty that I find very inspiring and refreshing. Everything I do is available to everyone. :)

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  18. What a great story about the boots!

    I can remember feeling guilty when I'd take my pickup load of stuff to the landfill and see how many of us were wasting so much.

    These days, we recycle nearly everything and have only a small can of the rest of it to be picked up.

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    1. Many people have gotten so much better about recycling. Now, I'm working on reducing all that packaging. What a terrible waste.

      Thanks, Linda. I so appreciate your post this evening.

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  19. That was a really interesting story Teresa. Fate works in mysterious ways. Back in the 20's my dad, his brother and my grandfather were driving from MN to California. (supposedly to escape the bill collectors) Somewhere along the trip my dad said he sure wished he had some sunglasses, his brother said he wished he had some chewing gum and my grandfather said he wished he had a White Owl cigar. Soon they see a denim jacket on the road. In the pockets were a pair of sunglasses, a pack of chewing gum and a pack of Camel cigarettes. Fate I say.

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    1. Steven! That's what happened to my denim jacket! LOL. What a great story! I am not at all surprised that this happened in your family. Somehow, I knew. As did you. :) It's ow the universe works when we open our eyes and let it. I love this! Thank you so much for telling me/us about it.

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  20. Dear Teresa, thank you for sharing this story of how the Universe responds to our heartwishes. And also for the Moody Blues; they have always been favorite of mine, especially the song "Nights in White Satin."
    Peace.

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    1. I love everything the Moody Blues did. One of the great bands. Yes, the universe does respond.

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