Thursday, June 23, 2016

Recycling - Double Life

Matinicus Island Recycles. This slogan comes from the efforts of a committed few islanders- one in particular- to change waste management away from old fashioned country livin’ methods that were probably fine when trash was almost all metal, glass or the occasional leather shoe sole. We now sort recyclables, Eva trucks them off on the ferry, and we have a hazmat disposal day or two each summer to get rid of crank case oil, old paint, solvents and other nasty things.  Here I learned to wash food packaging, and now wouldn't go back to throwing stinky meat trash in the garbage can.

Last month, on a gray windy day, I watched a chickadee engaged in its own recycling program on my deck. Seamus, our cat had coughed up his dinner a few days earlier, and the remains were now crispy dry on the deck. The chickadee pecked away and gathered tufts of Seamus’ fur out of the pile until the fluff was as big as his head before taking off into the trees.  Even hairballs don’t go to waste.

The unusually warm winter also produced some plant recycling. When I got back in April, I noticed small sproutlings of chard and bok choy in the garden. A few weeks later, the sprouts had turned into tall, shiny and thoroughly delicious greens. At the end of each lobstering season, I toss the many dozens of algae covered rope coils onto the garden. I believe the rope is saturated with nutrients that then soak into the garden and make our plants very happy.

Somebody has to be last. I got an early start that somehow ended up being a late start. In March, I got a big jump on fixing up Close Enough, though as usual, I didn’t come close to finishing up the list before deciding she should just go into the water. Somewhere between the yard and Matinicus Harbor, it got to be late May; that first few hundred feet took two months.  

 At this point, I was late, and feeling trapped by my office job, and about ready to chew off my paw to get free and put some gear in the water.

I was late and the shedders were early, so now it’s mid June and I’m still not all the way up to strength on traps in the water.

Living a double life sucks. I don’t know how preacher/philanderers, conservative congressmen who pick guys up in bathrooms, or double agent spy types can stand it.

By necessity I’ve gotten back into law practice to get through the winter, pay my creditors and keep myself fed and sheltered. I am lucky to have a nice office in a nice town, but the compass always points south-southeast to Matinicus- it’s always about getting back here to my humble cape in the middle of the island with a slightly out of tune but beloved piano. It’s all about getting back out on the water, getting bait-stinky, making muscles and joints sore.

The big downside is the back-and-forth, which needs to happen usually every week. In order to keep life here going and clients happy on the mainland, I juggle weather, court and real estate closing schedules, kid time and the ever present quagmire of whether I can fly, or whether it’s too foggy and I can take my boat, or whether it’s too windy, whether I can take the ferry, George’s charter, Marty’s lobster smack or some other random transport option. It is a 20 nautical mile salt water Rubik’s Cube.

 It's more than worth it.