You Set It All Out: Some Will Take Something

Every May, our town has a “large trash pick up day” where you can set out your large household items you no longer need or want. It’s turned into a grand shopping experience for the trucks slowly driving the streets to look for scrap metal, antiques, wood, or any assortment of material. It reminds me that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

I love large trash pick up day because it feels a little bit like fishing. After we set out our large items, we’ll call out to one another, “Someone’s here! They’re taking the old chair. Oh, look! Someone just took the old fan and the cans of paint!” It’s so curious to see various people coming by and rummaging through all we’ve set out. I participate as well; on my neighborhood walk, I’ve gathered baskets and little containers that I’ve used in my own home.

What isn’t taken goes to the landfill on Monday. Most of it does somehow find its way into another home, though.

All morning, I think of all I set out for public rummaging: the blogging, the speaking the writing, the teaching. I think of the rare tweet, the Instagram post, or the photo on Facebook. I think of new book manuscripts and more creative ventures that feel like I’m setting even more of myself out there. So much of my vulnerable little self lies broken and set out there like garbage on the curb. And guess what? People rummage through. They sift and decide. Some smile as they find something of great value to them. Others pass by. Some even turn their noses up. But the important point is that at least a few people come and find what they need.

And I watch from the window, delighted when someone picks a little thing up.

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