After this post I'm sure some of you may think I've completely lost it. But what the heck, I will put this idea out there anyway.
Yesterday after my lunch hour at work I was putting away all my reusable bags and containers to take home. I had eaten a terribly non-local mandarin orange and its peel was also sitting on my desk. I was deciding whether to be lazy and throw the peel in the garbage or be responsible and bring it with me to be put in the composter when I had this really clear thought: "you are coming home with me." It was an particularly distinct thought, that brooked no equivocation or disagreement. (I will often bring peels and stems and such home with me but sometimes I do get lazy and just throw them away.)
I looked at the orange peel for a moment. The orange had come from at least as far away as Florida, maybe even Mexico. (Last year I avoided eating any mandarins at Christmas time because they came from so far away, but this year I've given in and bought a few). Darn it, after traveling all that way so I could eat it, I wasn't going to just toss its remnants in the garbage can. In fact, I was going to make sure that it was nicely returned to the earth, with my other compostables. It may have been a transient and unnoticed orange up until now, but its peel was going to have a home, right in my garden. Sentimental? Yes. Wacky? Perhaps. But all things are connected. That orange came to me courtesy the seeds, sun, rain, picker, trucker and grocery store seller, and it deserves some respect. Why are the molecules in this orange peel any less valueable now than when they were covering the orange segments? Really, why do we treat so-called 'waste' items with such indifference, or even disdain?
As if to emphasize yesterday's realization, today an inmate at the jail I work at gave me a Christmas tree ornament made out of a quartered orange peel. He had drawn a snowman on the inside of the peel, and it had been dried and pierced with a hole so it could be hung on a tree. That's some respectful repurposing, hey?
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