Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Collection Report Oct 20, 2010

October 20th at Bay View beach in Saco, Maine brought a long-lost sight.
Sandpipers and their overlord
Which brought a smile to my face on a very chilly morning. When you spend each week scouring the world for the ugly, it's all the more crucial to notice the beautiful. Sometimes -- no, especially -- in places you least expect it.
Someone's collection of found art
Because we all know there's plenty of ugly to go around.



I was just about to do the fancy segue. You know -- first show a few pretty pictures, and then hit folks with the ugly; insert obligatory shots of trash on the beach, tug at heartstrings, yada yada yada. Then it occurred to me, this one time I don't want to do that. That's so predictable. There are plenty of other pages on the Flotsam Diaries choc-a-bloc with depressing imagery. So many. Today as I write this, the sun is just rising over the treetops. Our home is bathed in a golden glow, and the branches outside that aren't yet bare are aflame with their last hurrah of color -- coppers and rusts and vermillions.

This one collection report, my heart isn't into the ugly.

But this is still a collection report; so I'll at least post what I found. If briefly.

Zone N, 77 finds:
  • Building materials: 16 (fencing, asphalt chunks, brick bits, roofing tile bits)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 10
  • Fishing misc.: 5 (shotgun shell wadding, bits of lobster trap coating, trap bumper)
  • Food-related plastics: 4
  • Food-related metal/glass: 1 (scrap of aluminum can)
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 11
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 23 (14 local + 9 "floaters")
  • Paper/wood: 1
  • Misc./unique: 6 (glove, chunk of wax, furniture fitting, gum, 2 bits rotted shoe leather)
Zone S, 43 finds:
  • Building materials: 17 (mostly fence slats and bits of asphalt)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 11
  • Fishing misc.: 5 (lobster trap feeder plate, bit of rope, shotgun shell, 2 shell waddings)
  • Food-related plastics: 0
  • Food-related metal/glass: 1
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 7
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 0 (!!! a first)
  • Paper/wood: 1
  • Misc./unique: 1
All told, 120 more bits of trash to add to the list.

It's so easy to cross that line between caring about something and being consumed by it. I was a guy who saw trash on the beach, and now I'm a Flotsam Diarist. It's clear that we're creating a plastic world, and that tugs at me. But in my heart, I'm not an outraged activist. I've tried that suit on, and it doesn't fit. I'm a radical moderate, who just wants to leave the world better than he found it.

A parting picture.
Scoured sand
The winds of October have already begun to reclaim the beach and return it to the ocean. As they have since the dawn of time. Much of the loose top sand has already been scoured, leaving an older and harder layer exposed. Throughout the winter, the sand will move far offshore, one storm at a time, and the beach will sink and be scooped away. Then the tides of summer will again slowly deposit it back, one wave at a time.

This is a good world. We should keep it that way.

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