by Yule Heibel on May 1, 2005

I’ll never figure out how mental associations work.

No one wanted to cook today, it was Sunday, it was Labour Day, and I was tired from playing farmer: I had dug in dirt, planting a black bamboo someone sold me for a song, and putting in tomato plants someone gave me when they were tiny seedlings. I also had some unexpected volunteer seedlings from the compost — I hope they’re pumpkins, they look like pumpkin plants might look, and I carefully separated them out and grew them up in empty eggcartons. Today I planted those guys out, too. I might remember to water this lot, and if I do, I might get tomatoes, bamboo, and pumpkins. Oh, and some hellebore seedlings that were thrown in for free. I’m not a farmer, I just get these occasional spurts of frantic gardening. It passes.

Since no one wanted to cook, we ordered pizza for home delivery. Just before final KP, I flattened the pizza boxes, and briefly debated whether to keep the containers in an indoor recyclables container or whether to take them outside (there was a residue of grease and cheese on the cardboard). I used to just tear off the lids and recycle those, but our Capital Regional District informs us that we now can recycle the entire carton, greasy bottoms and all. The pizza shop included a small flyer which read:

Recycle Your Pizza Box
3 Easy Steps
will keep 2 million boxes
from the landfill each year

But just as I’m using the edge of the kitchen counter to make the crease to fold the boxes, a vision — and I mean a vision — floats before my mind’s eye: the Great Marsh, or at least that specific small bit of it visible in Newbury from Route 1, on the right hand side, as one is driving north from Rowley to Newburyport. I believe that bit of it is called the Kents Island Wildlife Management Area, but at any rate it’s the part that comes up after passing the turn-off to the Dummer Academy on the left some miles previously and then crossing the Parker River, but before the Boston Road (which is one of those mysterious deep-in-the-sticks connecting roads between Rt. 1 and Rt. 1A). Nearly unexpectedly, this vision of grasses and colours and infinite vistas on the right overwhelms the eyes as one barrels up the two-lane staight-edge of Rt.1 that so very much invites speeding. Nearly unexpectedly, if one slows down enough, that is: focus on the straight shot and you might miss it. Regardless of season, the marsh looks impressive and spectacular, but in spring and summer it’s best of all, teeming with biological possibilities. In the winter it’s lumpy with snow, and in the fall it sprouts haystacks. But it wasn’t the haystacks I saw as I folded the greasy pizza boxes … along the straight shot of the straight-edge of the kitchen counter. It was the summer-time salt marsh — flat, undulating, simply gorgeous, better than anything you could buy or wear or build or eat.

Tastier than take-out pizza, too.

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