We have been remodeling a part of our home. My Goodness! As you can imagine, when you bang a piece of wood here, you will find that the whole beam had already been eaten up by termites… one thing leads to another. You gotta be optimistic and have a good sense of humor! Let me tell you, I got plenty of both! And now, finally, the project is coming to an end… Phew!
Today, I decided to spend some time on side jobs: big wooden boxes filled with all sorts of wood. There was some that could be reusable, some was firewood and some was just trash. I was able to get rid of a big mound of wood. I also found a few cardboard boxes under that big wooden one. Obviously, the empty box had been used to hide the trash that had been collected from a previous cleaning job and it was so well put away!
It was a low flat box about 8 inches high by maybe 20 x 25 inches. It was heavy and closed. And I wondered what kind of junk was inside that box. There were old asbestos roof tiles, the old kind from a thousand years ago, which were left by the side of the house which was under construction. Were they scraps of organic waste or recyclables? It was impossibe to get the right answer to that question. They could not be reused nor would they decompose, not to mention that it all seemed to be hazardous. I pondered worried if there was still any poison in them after being washed by the rain for over 40 years. I was almost sure it was no good stuff. Guessing and hoping that there was no more poison, I decided for the regular trash.
In that trash, there were also tree leaves which had brought into the garage by storms and got mixed up with the dirt and sawdust… that goes to the organic waste. There was also damp pieces of dismantled cardboard boxes… no problem! But boxes are not easy to use to dispose of trash. Both, disposing and collecting become hard. I got trash liners to throw those things away. At that point, I found out there were also broken glass pieces mixed in with sawdust. There were glass pieces of all sizes. Some were as big as the palm of my hand. Some were tiny in several colors and shapes. When I saw that I thought: I will take the bigger pieces for recycling and the rest is regular trash, all mixed up!
I got my gloves on. I am too old to cut my hands. At home, due to the number of times I cut myself when I was a child, my folks still think of me when there is an accident involving broken glass. And, even though it’s been ages since I last got cut, I still hear them smother me with warnings.
So I got my gloves on and started sorting the glass pieces. It took forever! I grabbed them in bunches, separated them from the yucky sticky stuff and placed them into another box. After finishing with the large pieces, I thought it would be nice to get the medium size as well as the smaller ones. At that instant, in a flash, the image of people walking on top of the landfill dump popped into my mind. It occurred to me that not all of them would wear protective gear like shoes or boots. It occurred to me that the people that end up going there to collect garbage are low income people, really poor people. I had several images of children walking on top of the dump. I felt my heart tighten inside my chest just to think of one of those glass pieces could hurt a hand or a foot of those people. It was like a sudden fright that took over me when I realized the future of that little sharp glass piece right in front of me. Its history from being just sand laying on a random hill or dune, collected, washed, melted. I imagined those large glass sheets leaning in rows, waiting to be cut and shaped. I imagined someone choosing it in order to fit it as a window and making sure that it was the right thickness and sand blasted, because that was the look desired. And that was installed as the window that was part of my house for perhaps fifty years.
The glass, quiet and still, witnessed decisions and the movements of our will. That window, then, broke and someone swept the glass pieces.
There were other kinds of glasses too. Thicker, clear, green. Each one had its own history. I was there imagining the pieces travelling in the box towards the landfill dump, being dumped and getting mixed up with everything else. There suddenly comes a joyfully jumping boy – playing like other boys do without the awareness of their own miserable living conditions – I imagined this barefoot boy stepping with his heel right on one of these sharp glass pieces that, to me was just garbage, causing him serious injuries. I imagined the boy’s blood seeping through the garbage and even saw it was a wide open wound! I realized that all of that was just my imagination however, at the same time, it was all very real. It is real because we participate in everything we do, every act, every decision. We are responsible for every living being in this world. There is an invisible thread that links us all. From trash to act. From word to thought.
Translated by Poliana Miranda http://www.facebook.com/polianam
link para português: http://liceurudolfsteiner.com.br/educacao/tem-um-fio-entre-nos/