Of course, this time of year the corn is always drying out, green fading to brown, but the ears are usually swollen, showing golden kernels where the husk is pulled back by wind or nibbled on by deer. Now forlorn ears hang from the stalks, showing gap-toothed through the brown paper of their wrappers. Some years are like that, and it makes me think of other agricultural systems, like Community Supported Agriculture, where the risk of a low harvest is shared across the community. The grass is still showing some green but any barren ground has cracks wider than I’ve ever seen them—two and three inches across, and so deep that I think I could drop a penny down and hear it hiss when it hits the earth’s molten core. The rain we got last week would have been enough in normal times, but it didn’t even close up the cracks, just rounded off the edges at the surface. They still run deep into the dark earth.
On the other hand, I see more and more litter in the streets of Campus Town. I see more cans for recycling, but move in day brings larger and larger piles of discarded furniture at apartment complexes. One truck-sized dumpster sat next to an empty building overflowing with mattresses, cushion-less sofas, lounge chairs, appliances. Another pile sat next to it, even bigger than the dumpster and I wonder where it all came from and where it will go. We have programs for recycling and re-using and sharing the paraphernalia of our transitory existence—the web community, Freecyle, and the University Y’s Dump and Run program come to mind—and yet we seem to generate more and more rubbish every year. I wonder if the basic problem is a disengagement between what we buy and what happens to it when it is no longer useful to us. When we acquire a new toy, gadget, furnishing, do we pause for a moment to consider the cradle to grave impact our purchase will have? Do we consider the cost of disposal (not just our monetary cost, but the cost to the community of filling the landfill or abandoning things in an empty lot)?
Walk in Beauty; Wonder in Peace; Blessed Be