THE DESERT DIARIES

by R. Gurley

 

ABOUT

R. Gurley, MA, MFA, is a writer and English teacher with over 20 years of experience with words, whose works have appeared in Coping Magazine, Lehigh Valley Woman’ s Journal, and Budget Press. 

She is the co-founder of rgurleyrevolution.com, a bi-weekly bilingual  blog/podcast sharing stories of women around the world navigating women’s new frontier, the #MeToo millennium.

Mostly, she is a desert rat....

 
 
 
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Watching the Waste

The first item on the list for the House on Jane Way is to figure out the waste. The house is located miles from the trash service and people in this area are sent an annual pass to take items to the local landfill about 10 miles away. My address has changed so many times since I first got the house that I haven’t seen that pass in years. I will fix this in time, but my intention doesn’t solve the matter of waste.


The desert exposes things, perhaps it is the sun or perhaps it is the wind, but whatever it is, the desert exposes me first to how much I waste. My first effort to combat this was to separate what I used to just heave into a trashcan and lug to the street corner for the trashman I never saw to take it away to a place I have also never seen. No trashman in his right mind would drive out here, so I am left on my own.


I put the paper waste in a bag. I will burn this later in the fire, then use the ash to nourish the soil I am creating from scratch.


Next, I bought a gallon bucket for food waste. I place all food waste- eggs shells, banana peels, orange peels and remnants of my daily ginger tea- into the bucket.


I splurged last month and bought a compost tumbler that I’ve placed in the fenced yard. I place the food waste from the bucket into the tumbler weekly. I mix this with soil I bought at a nursery and bumper crop that came from Mrs. Veitch’s garden before she died this past July. The promise I made to her in her garden in the days following her death- the days why I watered the plants she fought so hard to stay alive- was to create a desert garden which thrives. I think of this as I turn the tumbler. I also think of spring when this compost will be ready to lay upon this acreage which aches for nutrients. I wonder what will grow.




Glass waste is piled along the fence much like a wood pile would. Wine bottles from nights with friends and bottles that once contained Trader Joe’s juice are stacked on top of each other. I hope to one day use these to build windows that bring people as much joy as the people who emptied those bottles on days and nights spent with friends.


The waste I cannot recycle is small in comparison to what I can. I never noticed this before now. I find myself watching what I buy now. I buy the paper version when I can. I try to avoid plastic, which can be hard.


The desert makes one mindful-reminds me how little should go to waste and how much waste can be used to create a more supple earth. I think of how Mrs. Veitch never wasted a moment in her hearth. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. My hope is it is not wasted.

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