What a thrill! After four days without power, the electricity is back. Now that a week has passed since the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, I’m moving on to the new normal of downed trees, long gas lines and of course, my new personal recovery campaign.
With yesterday and today as my regular days off, I’m busy doing laundry, vacuuming the house and paying bills while stealing the occasional nap. The familiar routines hold me steady since my real urge is to drop everything and cry.
The question constantly running through my head now: How do first responders do it? How do they manage to see terrible things and then go on without being a doomsday pill to those around them? By comparison, I’ve seen and done every little during this storm.
And yet, I’m so shaken that I’ve been constantly lecturing my daughter Gabi on safety issues — everything from the importance of keeping her car tank filled to the dangers of planting trees too close to the house.
Can’t I let the kid be a kid? Then again, we are living in a post-9/11 world that is now bedeviled by climate change where bad human practices have led to rising sea levels and more violent weather. Our poor children….what kind of planet are we leaving them?
For me, the answer lies in all forms of public service and outreach. This week, I’ve also been grateful for what I’ve both received and given in the form of hugs, concerned emails and random acts of kindness.
And in finally getting to the point of this post, there is also the power of recycling.
Old clothes and sheets: Yesterday, my local fire department here in Westchester County, was collecting supplies to take down to New York City folks who lost everything. After going through my closets and the attic, I dropped off more than half a dozen big garbage bags filled with winter jackets, jeans, bras, socks, hand bags, sheets and towels, along with a case of bottled water and some cleaning supplies.
Yucky fabric: I also found old clothes, underwear and linens too grungy for giveaway. Those things are now in a bag destined for GrownNYC, a textile recycling group with a regular table at the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan.
Home furnishings: I’ve also got a few cartons filling up with dishes, pans, framed pictures and small appliances. This stuff, along with some old chairs and tables that will somehow fit in my car are for a local organization that helps the homeless and veterans.
Potential craft scraps: Then there’s two big bags of packing styrofoam and quilting scraps that I have saved for Gabi’s former elementary school art teacher. Some of it will be good for kids’ crafts.
We have so much and we don’t even realize it!
Here’s a challenge…after you read this, why not Google around your community? I’ll bet there are recycling and donation options available for you too. My goal is to keep perfectly reusable things out of the landfills and put them in the hands of the needy.
This practice is also a metaphor for my life. There are feelings and experiences that are no longer center stage but it doesn’t mean that they should be forgotten. They simply need to be repositioned within me so that I can go on, with a fuller heart. Very little should be thrown away. Everything counts.
Hopefully, this post is reasonably articulate because I’ve gotta run. It’s almost dawn and time to find a gas line. From there, it’s on to therapy for a good cry before rolling with another busy day (working paperwork for refinancing my mortgage, annual checkup with the holistic eye doctor, working on my personal writing via NaNoWriMo).
Have a good one and remember: No matter what, there is love waiting for you in this world. xo.
If you liked this post, you might also like to see more housecleaning that’s gone on in my home: