Subtle Adventure Time
Last week, eleven year old Jacal came over to the house and asked a question he asks pretty regularly.
“Vicky, when are we going again?”
“Going where?” I asked.
There were any number of adventures Jacal could be referring to. Was he talking about jet skiing? Perhaps geocaching? Rollerskating? Maybe he is talking about the time we took the injured opossum to the wildlife rehabilitation center?
Possible Adventures Jacal was Referring To
“To the place where we took the trash,” Jacal said.
Jacal wasn’t talking about an adventure– he was talking about a chore! He was asking about a recent trip to the recycling center!
You see, our household doesn’t have a recycling bin. Just because we are too lazy to go to town hall get a replacement bin does not mean we are too lazy to recycle! Binless or not, we still diligently set aside the recyclables. When our pile becomes overbearing…or… and this is more likely the case, we are expecting guests, we load everything up in the car and take it down to Fun Junktion.
Such was the case early this month when my mother and sister were visiting. I got our formidable inventory ready to go:
Just as I was about to depart, Jacal showed up. Right place, right time. He hopped in the car and we were off. En route, we had to pull over and marvel at a house. It’s entire front yard was covered in noisy blackbirds. And yet every other yard on the street was an uninterrupted (and quiet) green.
Together we hurled recyclables into the appropriate dumpsters and felt fulfillment with each clang of aluminum or crack of brown and green glass. Afterwards, we went on a 1.25 mile walk around the nearby pond. At one point, Jacal stopped dead in his tracks and grabbed my arm.
“OH… MY…. GAWD…. Vicky…Do you see what I see?”
I looked to where he was pointing and saw Great Blue Heron in the pond. It stood still and silent and looked regal and prehistoric. It was a new species for Jacal.
Later on our walk, Jacal kicked an ant hill. Two larger insects were standing nearby at the time. Wrong place, wrong time. As the ants rushed around trying to make sense out of the sudden chaos, those two bystanders were anointed instant scapegoats. The ants swarmed and despite their large size, the loiterers were quickly overpowered and devoured. I found it interesting and my companion was absolutely enthralled.
A hoard of discriminating blackbirds, a solitary heron and unforgiving ants. These are humble, ordinary creatures and yet they demonstrate just how much discovery and adventure nature still provides, especially to young eyes. In Jacal’s mind it was worthy of the same inquiry as our other outings. On the caliber of jet skiing even!
By coming out all the way to Fun Junktion, I was reminded exactly why I do recycle.
“So when are we going again?” Jacal repeated his question.
“Uh…” Already there was a small pile of cardboard and plastic gathering in the kitchen. But on the other hand, I had no visitors scheduled.
“When the pile gets big again.” I said.
Knowing Jacal, he’ll do whatever he can to make that pile get bigger, faster. : )