Two weeks of living on an island. Now all that matter are the ocean and the sky. All that matters is the gaping expanse of air and color. Who dreamt of mixing pure light and water into so many sapphires, heaping them into waves and splashing them with whitecaps? Who molded a sky full of clouds into one large white bunny, disarmingly quiet, hovering at twilight over darkening hills? Who cleared the space of raspberry blue in the late afternoon for the rising pink moon? (Awesome song, Nick Drake)
What else could matter when you see a pink moon?
Well, the garbage on the beach, for one. Apparently now is my time to learn the rusty nuts of bolts of what happens to the waste of the world. Despite my best effort to reduce, reuse and recycle, this is what happens. Among the driftwood and seashells are hundreds of empty beer bottles, half pairs of Nikes, and the dismembered arms of lost plastic dollies.
(I imagine a magic yellow tractor which appears on the beach to push away the messy reminder of life without cloud bunnies and moons made of rose quartz.)
I’m here on the beach examining litter and calculating the chances of God’s giving us another chance: “Just this once, change the island back to paradise and we promise no more half used paint cans, no more Coke bottles, no more styrofoam take-out trays.”
Really, though, why should God believe us? Here at my feet is a green curbside recycling bin (possibly washed in from Florida?). Battered and empty it proudly declares, neat block letters printed on its side, “We recycle.”
Photo credit: Jeff Stein, whom I don’t know personally, but who apparently is also thinking about trash on the beach.