We purchased recycled paper this year, no bows or frills–nope, I said, not in this family. I wanted a celebration that didn’t add to the nation’s landfills, but barreling home on 95, blinded by the sun, I had to admit what this road trip really meant: multiple trips to the petrol pump, piles of plastic cups, flexible fork lunches, and the unforgiving bulge of white trash bags, hauled down the stairs from our oceanfront condo. Holiday bloat. New Year’s Eve, a sad toast in dixie cups, and the eerie echo of broken champagne bottle glass. The cost of our celebrations to planet Earth, I don’t dare ask.
Shamefaced sun reveals
footprints in sand fade faster
than the carbon ones.
Since the start of the pandemic, waste has increased worldwide. The photograph accompanying my haibun was taken by Gregg Segal as part of his 7 Days of Garbage Challenge, which personalizes this problem by asking people to collect a week’s worth of refuse and then take a picture with it. This project raises awareness for the excessive amount of consumerism that is part of the daily culture of our generation. Be sure to check out more of his startling photography.