Seeing Plastic

Have you ever had one of those experiences, I'm sure you have, when you think you're doing one thing and then realize there's something else going on? And yet whatever you were doing had to be done before your eyes could adjust to the next thing. I've had a few of those experiences, this week.

The first was with the camera. I carry it every where and act like I know something. Until I realized this week the camera is the one that knows what's going on. It's teaching me how to see, as slowly and repeatedly as if I were relearning the alphabet. I point it, shoot and look to see what's there. It's like finding a ship in a bottle each time. And the camera gets it all; the light and the reflections of the light; the shadows and the threads. It gets the tiny black bugs and dust and patterns and vastness of everything. And I find beauty I'd overlooked and wonder, where have I been?

Which is how I feel about the next two small awakenings - where have I been? First, it's been a couple of years since we produced more than a tortilla chip bag, occasionally a big tortilla chip bag, of trash a week. This week though I realized the meat I buy is vacuumed packed in plastic. It's beautiful grass fed, organic, happy animal meat. That was all I could see. I never saw the plastic. That's the piece that gets me - I couldn't see the plastic.

The second eye opener had me cancel the Sunday paper delivery. To say I love the Sunday paper is an understatement. I make it last all week and can't wait to get on the bus for the hour commute to read it. But it's delivered in plastic. A blue plastic sleeve that I must admit makes me smile in anticipation. So much so that I've kept a blind eye to the plastic part. But you know what, I can walk or ride my bike to the store on Sunday to buy a copy. I can stop at the store on the way home from the farmers' market and buy a copy. A copy that doesn't come in plastic.

Although maybe I'll keep the last blue plastic bag and each Sunday put the store bought copy in it for the anticipation factor. I doubt it. The anticipation will change as will old habits of buying meat in plastic. I hope the camera never stops teaching me how to see though. I don't want to miss anything.

4 comments:

Chile said...

I know what you mean about suddenly seeing something that's been there all along. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that the kitchen trash was really only plastic. Metals, paper, and glass are all recycled. Organic material is composted. That only leaves plastic. It disturbed me seeing a (re-used) plastic bag full of plastic.

I'm working on ways to reduce those sources...

Tamara said...

Your photos remind me to look at the beauty that's always present in new and eye opening ways. Your words inspire me to continue finding ways to nurture that beauty...less waste, for one!
Thank you.

Kelly said...

those pics are something else. im running myself ragged by making so many of the things i used to but in plastic! Help! but BD meat we still by vacuum selaed. were working on getting the whole beast, or just half, in an effort to reduce waste , increase flavour and enjoyment and reduce cost! man, who's got time to go to work!

kale for sale said...

Chile - I read somewhere (maybe in No Impact Man) that so many of our items that are marketed to be single use and then disposed of are are actually designed to last forever. That turned my head upside down. I have no doubt you will reduce your sources of plastic! And be quite creative about it along the way.

Tamara - That could be a bumper sticker: Nurture beauty/make less waste. xoxo

Kelly - I know. I almost took a vacation day to stay home and can. That's weird. One thing at a time I'm always telling myself.