D is for Dumped

When I moved here I assumed hat villagers were extremely environmentally friendly. Everywhere I looked nature was doing its job being green, ridiculously so at times. Just when I thought things couldn’t turn any greener, it always did.

It took me a while to figure out that the villagers weren’t environmentally friendly at all;  nature simply excels at covering up  for mankind. Possibly out of embarrassment for the creatures who  supposedly have evolved above plant status; let’s green it over.

The villagers didn’t know any better,  I told myself.  And it’s actually not that bad, they told me when I asked them why they sprayed their vineyards blue in summer.  It was only copper sulfate. That didn’t really do any damage. It’s was biological. Sort of.  And yes they had to spray against the Colorado beetle but everyone did.  Otherwise there were no potatoes.  There was also little time to weed the maize fields so ok,  they also used herbicide.

But they were nice people.  They didn’t mean to harm nature. They were just old.

What truly shocked me though was when I noticed that things had been dumped in the forest.  Partially degraded mattresses, building materials, tiles, glass, plastic bags.

Not even covered up, just dumped at the side of the path where I walked.

Who would do such a thing? Not people from my village obviously.

Now it made sense why at times I saw the white vans of the gypsies driving up that lane: to check for scrap metal of course.

*

Villager C offers to help me move the two hundred or so empty wine bottles. We  bought the house of her, it belonged to her parents, they stored the bottles in the bodega, the cool place underneath the house. Some  bottles are still full.  According to villager J, Tonta, the village idiot who was also the village alcoholic, had the habit of nicking the odd bottle when no one was watching, before we moved in.

We open and try some of the remaining bottles but unfortunately we don’t find ourselves sitting on a vintage red wine goldmine. It tastes positively like mud.

“We’ll just get the tractor and load it in the trailer one of the days, and we’ll take it into the forest.”  Villager C says. Something must have gone lost  in translation so I asked her to repeat, but she says the same thing.

“Dump in the forest? But you can’t do that!”

“Everyone does.” comes the reply.

Not willing to fall out entirely with my lovely friend Villager C,  I tell  her I’d get rid of the bottles myself.

*

Out on my daily walk into the hills I notice a big pile of old doors and window sills  at the side of the path,  not even dumped in a ditch.  It must have happened a few days ago.

A week or so later I walk by again, a  4 by 4 parked on the side, an elderly man walking nearby.  I know him, quite a prominent figure in the bigger village. He demands if I know who has dumped that pile there and I answer too quickly that I have no idea.  He scowls.  The council would fine him a lot for this if they think it’s his,  he says, as this piece of forest is his.

Maybe someone doesn’t like him, I think later, and they had dumped all that on purpose on his plot of land.

The next time I walk past, a couple of days later, I noticed he’s moved the lot a few metres away, at the exact spot where the path forms a t- junction.

It’s not unlike a modern art installation,  in one way it looks so prominently  out-of-place, this heap of old doors and half-smashed windows,  that  it actually seems like it belongs there.

It has endless symbolic story possibilities and all that brokeness is lying there in the middle of a t-junction.

I’d go so far as it being comforting.

The wood will slowly rot away over the years. I’ll notice it every time I will walk past.  But the glass will remain. Sharp as ever. A cutting reminder.

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6 thoughts on “D is for Dumped

  1. Hello. I really enjoyed this post. I realised you are following me but due to a huge wordpress login mixup, you’re following my ancient and dead WordPress site which I’d forgotten existedm¡, rather than my current site. Finally found your responses to mine. Have logged in here differently… trying to sort. Valerie

  2. Human beings are inherent dumpers. We descended from primates and ate things and threw the bones or gristle away. They decompose. Problem is, we live in a modern time when things don’t so easily decompose or are taken away by other critters. Plastic doesn’t decompose, glass can eventually break into little pieces, but that takes a long time, other things stay viciously intact but ugly. I am doing a terracing project in my gulch behind the house and am finding all sorts of old things dumped: a kewpie type doll that I kept for awhile then found terrifying, 1970s aluminum toothpaste tube, children’s toys. Some of these were no doubt dumped deliberately while other things fell off the deck and got swallowed by the earth.

    The neighbors who used to own the land have stories of dumping in the gulch. People in my neighborhood or my town secretly dump tires at night, abandon cars, appliances, clothes even… the notion of taking items to a landfill so they can be all dumped together in a big eyesore that won’t decompose, this is a modern notion too. I read about people in India who would buy chai at the train station, but the mugs were made of lightly fired (or unbaked?) clay and everyone would toss there mugs on the ground where they would break, but this seems better than a plastic coated paper coffee cup or a styrofoam cup that all ends up in the landfill. I don’t like dumping, that creates eyesores, but landfills are a hidden kind of dumping that is ok, because we can’t see it. But the stuff is still there. We haven’t figured out how to deal with our trash yet. That’s part of our next evolution. Enjoyed reading your post! Maui Jungalow

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