The property owned by the Nature Center where I work was a farm once – many, many years ago. We have found two spots that served as dumps. They are noticable only in early spring, before the skunk cabbage leaves grow up tall enough to hide them. There are amazing treasures in there… and a lot of junk. Bed springs, an old metal headboard, pieces of old crockery, a battery, and lots and lots of glass…
Many of the bottles are colorless. Some are beautifully colored – blue, brown, green. Some are clear, others cloudy. Some are still whole, most are broken. Most are empty, but some are still capped and contain – who knows what? What came in all these bottles and jars? Food? Medicine? Cosmetics or perfume? Liquor?
It’s interesting to watch how nature reclaims the dump – so very slowly. This area floods, then dries up, then floods again. The stuff gets moved around a little, buried with silt, surrounded by dead plant material – but slowly, so slowly. The bedsprings are rusting and as plants grow up through them it is hard to tell what is metal and what is organic.
My favorites are the mini greenhouses formed by the clear glass artifacts. Today, Sarah lifted a broken glass pie dish to reveal an amazing stand of moss. Then we found these two jars – each with its own ecosystem inside.
There is beauty to be found everywhere – even in a dump. But here’s the question: if this were your nature center, would you clean up the dumps? I’m curious to know your opinion… the pros, the cons… Do you work at a place or own some land where stuff has been dumped? What did you do (or do you plan to do)?