What a waste

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The house had been vacant for almost two years before we moved in, and the garden was an overgrown shambles. Making order of it wasn’t the first item on our to-do list, but we didn’t want to ignore it. The week before the in-laws arrived for a visit, I cut the grass, whacked weeds, and trimmed back some branches that overhung the walk.

On trash day, the bag of clippings was left behind, next to the empty cans.

“They aren’t taking yard waste anymore,” someone explained-something about that part of the dump being full.

We suspended gardening for the time being. There was plenty to do inside the house, anyway. To get rid of what the trash men hadn’t taken, I mixed handfuls of dead leaves and bundles of twigs in with our kitchen trash, a little at a time, like a prisoner sneaking tunnel-dirt out of a cell. We wanted to weed, tame our hedgerows, rake the leaves. The unfulfilled obligations of good neighborliness weighed heavily upon us, but what could we do? Would a huge pile of yard waste have been any less unsightly than our bristling hedges and choked flower beds?

When the city announced a special yard-waste pickup for six a.m. this Monday, it inspired Amy to spend Saturday afternoon weeding and trimming. By the end she had filled three large bags and tied up a big bundle of branches and sticks.

I would have thought that everyone on this well-kept street would do the same. But this was the view at 6:30 p.m. tonight, with a mere eleven and a half hours left before the trucks would come rumbling through, and rain clouds drifting in.

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