Sunday, July 26, 2020

Dump Day

Leaving the Taos Landfill 

Water heaters, refrigerators and metal objects of all kinds, 2020

Tres Montañas, 2010
When we moved to tony Wellesley, Massachusetts in 1973 I got hooked on the taking our trash to the town dump or the Recycling and Disposal Facility as it’s called in polite company. From our rental house on Mayo Road I’d join the tightly coiffed and pearl draped matrons in white gloves exiting their Mercedes sedans. The dump was, after all, the place to be seen and New Englanders are proud to show they’re not above delivering their own rubbish. It’s a badge of honor like the hubby’s leather elbowed Harris tweed from his undergraduate days at Harvard in 1949.

The Wellesley dump was a scene. As befitting a bastion of good citizenship, recycling was de rigueur as was donating your hand-me-downs, your out of date Encyclopedia Britannica or lightly used Harman Kardon stereo to your lessers. I can attest to the efficacy of the Wellesley dump's wealth redistribution model. We both gave and took from the little shed that was brimming with the perfectly good used items. On one occasion our early 1960s World Book Encyclopedia was gone before we had recycled our bin of Mateus bottles.

And so began my adult lifetime of taking the trash myself. While the bourgeoisie delegate the job to dark-skinned essential workers from Waste Management I demonstrate the self-reliance and frugality I learned in New England. I’m wicked proud.

In 2002 we rented an earth ship in the Upper Los Colonias neighborhood of Taos. The little cave of a house was tucked into a hillside and built of used tires and hay bales. It was in that tiny two room dwelling that we fell in love with Taos. We fell so hard we bought a vacation house in Taos the next year. And the year after that we had moved here permanently. The first time I took the trash to the dump from the rental in Los Colonias they weighed my trash filled Ford Explorer when I entered the facility and again after I had emptied the containers. The clerk said, “That’ll be 35 cents.” I paid in cash.

When I got back to the earth ship, I was giggling when I told Peggy how much I’d just paid for the pleasure of taking our refuse to the dump. “I love this place!"

And going to the dump isn’t it’s just about enjoying the mundane. Sometimes it’s who you see there. Friday we were fifth in line to exit and right in front of us was the back of a burly Native American gent with his gray hair in a ponytail and a blue bandanna around his head. I said to Peggy, “I think that’s Marcus.” She looked perplexed. I explained, “Marcus Eagleheart.” She replied, “You’re right. It is.”

She promptly opened her door, got out and yelled, “Marcus.”

The one and only Marcus Eagleheart
He smiled broadly and walked back to the Pilot. He was not sporting a mask but kept himself well away from our vehicle. I’m pretty sure Marcus doesn’t remember our names. At least he’s never used them. Not that it matters. We first met him, quite naturally, through Lindsey Enderby who is the best friend of everybody in the known world. Much has been written about that magnetic character.

A portrait carved from the shot above. The rare crop you'll see from me.

The man and the camera
Marcus Eagleheart is a two-stepping marvel who’s a habitue of the bar at the Sagebrush Inn on Ladies Night. Imagine a Stetson on his handsome self and you’ll know why he is or was a big time chick magnet. Fact is I never saw Marcus without a blonde on his arm. I exaggerate ever so slightly to make my point.

He told us he was helping his buddy Keith move after 20 years in the same apartment. Keith, a fine western jeweler who had a stroke a couple of years back, was riding shotgun in Marcus’s pick-up as we spoke. Peggy asked how Keith was doing and Marcus said, “Just okay. He's really nervous about the move.” Keith is a gentle soul.

I saw Marcus framed by the driver’s side window and asked him if I could take his picture. He laughed, “My favorite subject. Me.”

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

What a great summary of the landfill scene, both in Wellesley and in Taos, and of falling in love with Taos. The things I learn from your blog. It is a superb way to communicate these days. Marcus Eagleheart has an amazing face and presence, and the portrait of him laughing is perfect! Your shot of Tres Montañas from 2010 is the bounty of the earthships that have become so iconic in Taos. I hope you were able to drive to the landfill this time. And perhaps at some point you will be able to meet the woman who runs the landfill in Tres Piedras. She is one of the crown jewels of Taos County. Thanks for the Monday enlightenment!