Revelation: It’s Not Just About Plastic

Feeling just a little bit better and the world is a magical place again!

Monday, I escaped to Connecticut after Love Bites – our interview with Sari Kamin on breakups was cathartic in a way – and while doing the show, packing a bag, driving with mom to the butcher shop (for paper-wrapped meat), stopping in Fairway for bulk veggies, driving to Dan’s to get Mitra (who wouldn’t let me put her down once I’d picked her up – what a reunion!), and then finally collapsing in Wilton beyond exhausted this thing I live in… I did that all in one day. After turning in pages to clients in the morning.

That’s a huge growth from last week. Thankful. And now I’m with the snow, and the trees.

Tuesday, I turned in two more pieces, did a quick phone interview with a chef, then another for the radio. Warmed up some food that mom made for me as the snow fell.

And now, Wednesday, I find myself distracted by what I see out the window, right behind my screen. We got a good 18 inches in some spots, before the ice started. Now, the sun and ice and wind have worked together to create this blinding sheen over the white. Every trace of rough stone or grass smoothed into a gently rolling plain. In the crack of the old stone wall that separates our property from the park, a gentle hill cascades from one side to the other — I almost expect tiny mice to slide down it on their bottoms for a lark. The bench on the soccer court sits half buried and lonely. My hammock swings, only slightlt as the chains are near frozen, with one ball of snow centering its weight down in the middle.

Branches all bare, except for the one bristly pine that, maybe fifteen feet high, stays warm amongst the towering white oaks.

I love gazing out at it all. It’s horridly distracting. “What do I need to do next?” There are so many envelopes to open – but I don’t want to open them. They include numbers to balance and pay, and I hate balancing numbers. I haven’t yet eaten . I have words to type.

But the sky is Easter blue, dotted with a few thin, puffy clouds. Mitra sleeps, warm, on her bed next to me, at a height so that I can pet her without reaching down. It’s so quiet here inside that I only hear my fingers typing – so loud! – against the backdrop of wind outside as it moves the trees. They sway – deeper and deeper in the woods I see them in dense layers; a family reunion of white oaks dancing as one.

If they can outlast this winter and this cold, so can I.

And I realize: In all my love for trees, I’ve forgotten them in my Zero Waste Challenge.

I’ve dishonored them.

My Challenge can’t just be about plastic.

My rules have focused around ruling out anything that cannot be recycled or composted. Yes, we can easily recycle paper. But paper comes from trees, and the process of slicing and turning them into the paper makes a footprint, too. I got lost in the “easily recyclable” part of that.

Before this Challenge started, I’ve requested used books when people buy them for me. Since the No Shopping Challenge, I learned the ease of downloading digital books or getting hard copies from my local library. But overall, I’ve habitually disregarded how easily I print things, or what purchased products come in paper or cardboard, because the loss feels less significant than the harm of plastic.

But its being lesser than doesn’t make it insignificant. And within my Challenge remained a habit I didn’t realize I’d cultivated.

So, a new promise: As I wake and still have to blow out blood from my face each morning, I will continue to reach for my cloth, not paper. I will watch what I print. I will question the need for notes, and Post-Its, and whether or not I can print on the back of what I no longer need.

Reduce – Reuse…

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