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  • I’m about to head down the driveway to fill trash bags with junk that people have tossed from car windows and that has flown from the backs of pick-ups along this stretch of rural road. I’ll find the expected bottles and cans and paper and cardboard and fast-food wrappers and hubcaps and cigarettes, and surely some surprises—a book, a dress, a newsy letter, a box of photos--who knows?

    I’d make a lousy garbologist. Yeah, stuff stirs stories, but mostly I get depressed when I see what people throw away, what there is to throw away. It happens every year this first Saturday of May.

    This time, I’m beating back the blues.

    I’ll look beyond the trash and into the fields where spring is in full fever force. Where skirmishes over territory have shifted into mating and nest-building and birthing and rearing. Where flocks and packs have broken up into pairs. Where bucks have separated the does from last year’s fawns. Where everything is at its sharpest edge, its keenest pitch. Let the wild flow over me. Howl.

    Look there: a female turkey trolls the vegetable garden for grubs.
    And there: swallows zip back and forth across the near field beaks stuffed with nesting materials.
    Here: robins ring our house with nests of moss, mud, sticks, straw and even a grocery receipt that somehow ended up on the ground. Oops.
    And over here: a single doe plays hide-and-seek with me.
    Listen: beyond the roar of the milk tanker, beyond the stream’s babble, orioles trill from the tall stand of oaks as they weave their pendulous nests. Field sparrows send liquid notes from the tall grasses. Towhees remind the world to drink-your-tea-tea-tea.

    Somewhere out there, down in the thickets and small gaps in the ledge, the coyotes are raising their broods as are the bobcats. Holes in the fields shelter the skunks, the woodchucks, the foxes. The doe will soon drop an early fawn in the field.

    Oh no. There’s the single male pheasant who made it through the winter, still calling for a mate. He’s singing the blues.

    Heck, I’m no spring chicken. I’m just watching, too. I’m side-lined, the picker-up-of-trash.

    Oh boy, here come those blues.

    Maybe I should get creative, make the trash into a statement, a sculpture--pile it high on the edge of the driveway.

    Maybe I should follow the example of my gentler friends: adopt a puppy or a kitten. One has a tub of chicks in her kitchen.

    No. Not me. No sir. Nothing domesticated for me. I’ve raised my kids. Had my pets. Collected my share of trash. Nope, after I collect one more bag of junk, I’m running wild. I’ll be the dried-up doe, the white-face she-wolf, shaggy and hungry and wily.

    But first, maybe, just maybe, I’ll head out to the garden and get my hands dirty. My face. My clothes. Plant spinach and favas. Peas. Lettuce and beans and greens. But don’t worry, nothing blue. Nope no sir. Nothing blue at all around here on this Green-up Day.
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