Saturday, December 04, 2010

Morning At the Dump

    For those of you who don't know about the intricacies of my life, I should tell you that I moonlight on certain weekend days at a local small town transfer site.  If you live in the city I will be happy to explain: in many areas if you live in the country they don't come down your road and pick up your garbage and recycling, you have to take it to a centralized location that is only open during certain hours and then they haul it off from there.  In some instances you have to pay to take it in, but then there is no garbage fee on your taxes.  The place you take it to used to be called the town dump, but now they are officially called transfer sites, even though around here they are almost always at the site of the former town dump.  Anyway, I work at one in one of the friendly local communities around here that is located smack dab on top of the former town dump, and I collect money from people for their trash for three hours on certain Saturday mornings.
     There isn't a lot to the transfer site.  There is a series of like a dozen dumpsters into which people can put their trash and different brands of recycling, and they are all lined up along one side of a big gravel turnaround area.  At the end of the turnaround is a pole barn in which to store various things, and inside the pole barn there is a little office with a desk and a heater and for some strange reason a medicine cabinet.  Anyway, being on the site of the town sump, the site is a little elevated at the end of a long, bumpy road, and it is totally surrounded by trees.  You can't see any other buildings or anything.  There is electricity so there are no trash compaction machines or anything, just cars making their way through and a radio that always seems to be spewing out polka music or NPR.
     So there I was this morning, and as it turned out it was my idea of a perfect winter day.  See, a lot of people get off on that sort of winter day when there is a fresh blanket of snow and it is bright sunny blue outside and about 31.9 degrees.  Not me.  That is certainly a beautiful winter day in my eyes but when I think of winter I think of a day like today turned out to be.  It was not terribly cold, maybe in the mid-twenties, with cloudy gray skies.  Then, beautiful, almost magical, light, fluffy, certainly benign snowflakes began to fall.  Not enough to accumulate on the ground, and not enough to cause any trouble, just enough to make the scene into an absolutely perfect winter day.  Standing outside, all alone except Roy and Mary who handle the recycling and the polka music, bundled up against the cold in my work clothes, watching the snow fall through the gray air and brown, leafless trees, it was exactly where I wanted to be.  In his book The Geography of Bliss writer Eric Weiner talks a lot about feeling at relaxed and contented and at peace as he goes around searching for happiness.  And he finds that feeling in a multitude of places.  That was the feeling I had standing in the middle of the lot in the middle of the former dump in the middle of the woods in the middle of the snow flurries in the middle of winter.  Wow, I was in the middle of a lot of things.  That was, until someone showed up with some gross garbage and a trunk full of recycling.
      That, time and time again, disturbed my perfect winter morning.  But that is okay, because those perfect, peaceful moments aren't really designed to last for a long length of time.  The are fleeting be design, otherwise they would be commonplace and a lot less perfect.  But that is okay, as long as you have some from time to time.  And I did today, so all is well.  And all was well this morning at the dump.

1 comment:

BradPerala said...

Very well written. I know that feeling, and I agree with the perfect winter day. Grey and gloomy. And snowy. That weather is welcome in November/December. Even January, sometimes. But when it's late February, or April(!), that's when I hate that kind of day. I've just seen that day 100 times in a row at that point. But yes, I do like those days. We're having one of those days in Nashville, RIGHT NOW! WOOHOOO!