Behind The Curtain 18 – Slough Pollution And Groundscores – June 23, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

By Aunt Mary

Ted Halstead turned off Samoa Boulevard onto Jackson Ranch Road. The daffs were up, the sun reflected off the slough and the birds were out in numbers. Not even the recent downpour could keep this bright, spring morning at bay.

He could almost predict the pile of debris mounded purposefully in the crook of the road. Slowing down, he parked the truck in the shadow of the “No Dumping” sign.

A significant amount of  trash lay on the ground. Heavy, black contractor’s trash bags were immediately recognizable as a possible grower toss. Inside he could bet there would be heavy, dense root balls, stems and dirt. This kind of dumping always perplexed him.

“That’s the kind of stuff that will break down, given the chance.” he remembered telling a friend.

“It’s great for compost,” his friend responded. “I’ve seen a little ad in the North Coast Journal for it. Freshwater Farms up Myrtle Road from Eureka takes it.  It’s packed with fertilizers, you know? He gets tons of the stuff every week. Helps him out too. Shame they just dump it, really.”

Beside the grow-bags were other remains of the day and evening prior: old insulation,a broken plastic chair; drip irrigation tubing, trash from a nearby fast food place, a broken television set and a child’s bike. “All this needs is a new bolt or two,” he thought to himself, throwing it in the back of the truck. “Better not take home another project.”

“You could build a house and furnish it with all the stuff you find,” the guy at the junkyard told him the week before. “Poor distribution, that’s what it is,” the frustrated man ranted. “I see enough stuff go through here to keep everyone in the world happy, and then some – it’s just getting it to them, right?”

In the distance, cows grazed in grass fed by the slough running through this rancher’s property. At least the bags on the roadside weren’t accompanied by the other common form of cannabis pollution – the 32-gallon garbage can full of trim cast out into Liscom Slough.

Ted fetched his shovel from the back of the truck and began the more tedious task of scraping spilled paint from the damp ground near the waterway.

A short distance away on Samoa Boulevard, squatters stirred on the now defunct train tracks. Once busy with lumber-laden flatcars, the tracks now hosted any number of travelers, plus the amorphous perma-party known as the Fun Bunch.

Koolio poked his head out of a large, cardboard box and squinted in the morning sun, eyeing a plump contractor’s bag sitting near that had appeared overnght. Closer inspection revealed the hoped-for contents –  a sturdy, green twig protruding from the bag.

“It’s Christmas!” he hollered to his companions, ripping open the bag and pushing his hand through the lumpy green remains of what was, no doubt, last night’s trimming session in some grower’s living room. “Trim for all!” Koolio yelled. “Another man’s trash is our treasure today!”

With today’s recycling redemption money and the 40s they’d buy, tonight was already looking promising.