simple solutions

I realize this writing project might come off as particularly frivolous in these times, esp posts like this. My hope is for this to help with healing, clarity and strengthening so that I can step back into bigger pictures.

photo of dead leaf strewn ground and a shrub with bare branches with a blue garbage picker on the ground
A Starbucks pastry bag between the hydrangea and kerria. More evidence of how the neighborhood has changed.

We are in the windy times and that means more  garbage out front. While Chicago’s bag tax has cut down on the plastic parachutes tangled in trees, Covid masks seem to have filled the void. Coffee cups, beer cans, and candy wrappers continue to be mainstays.

We try to stay on top of the big stuff but now that the snow has melted and my eyes are carefully monitoring for signs of spring, it’s easier to spot the inorganic interlopers.

But without winter gloves, I’m less inclined to poke around. Hence the purchase of a garbage picker upper last summer–something I’ve been meaning to do for years. And, no surprise, it’s been in the basement since then because whenever I think to use it I’m already outside.

close up of tulip leaves starting to emerge, tips poking through dead leaves
Last year’s leaves, this year’s tulips (I think)

During this afternoon’s desultory  inventory of new growth, front door already propped open, I had no excuse not to break for two minutes to grab the grabber. It was easy to find because I had tripped over it while looking for something else the day before.

I had also grabbed spare bin  from the basement. Many moons ago I stashed a trash bucket in yard… genius!  But I am more inclined to keep stomping it down than to unlock the gangway and haul it 40 yards to the alley. It was, of course, at peak compaction before I started the deep clean.

Working the claw was a delight, like being in an arcade. Why did I wait so long? No more  snapping the hydrangea’s branches to tease out the tattered donut bags and receipts drifting around  its base or wondering how many sneezes a K95 has absorbed. It spares the baby leaves from my trampling. And it scratches my perfectionism itch, for better and worse. Oh look! A thumbnail sized piece of Styrofoam! Bottle cap! Piece of string! (Hmmm, now I am singing Puff the Magic Dragon.)

After about 10 minutes of work that wasn’t really work, the yard was clear, both bins were empty, and my not so new tool was leaning behind the hydrangea. Easy access. No excuses. Bring on the wind and Takis bags.

Oof. I just realized I need to take out the kitchen trash and recycling which reminds me of the great garbage pile up of the winter if 1998. Not gonna touch that one tonight.

Drat. I think I hear hail.

Compromised and just took out the garbage. Rumor joined me.

sidewalk leading to a chain link fence gate, night time, a black dog walking towards camera

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