The Hidden Landfill
When I first moved to this state, I thought everything was so much cleaner.
by Rebecca Hutley
We had moved away from trash all over the side of the road and rowdy kids who rang our doorbell in the middle of the night and ran.
In this new state, luscious green lawns graced the capital while fields of wildflowers captured the eye in the countryside. There was no garbage on the side of the road, and everyone had beautiful gardens and friendly smiles.
I watched the grass outside my middle school change from dead in the winter to vibrant green in the spring. I always waited for the time of year when purple clumps of ground ivy would cover our yard and tiger lilies bloomed in excess.
Then I got to high school, with cigarette butts scattered around and tobacco stains on the sidewalk, and I began noticing more and more trash everywhere.
The roads I used to think immaculate soon showed themselves to be home to soda cans, beer bottles, cigarettes, and plastic bags. I found myself having to pick up small things from the lawn and throw them away.
The foul stench I had thought to be roadkill or chicken houses for the past two years was revealed to be hidden garbage dumps beneath the neighbors' gardens. Even my grandparents hid a trash heap beneath their cucumbers and tomatoes.
The green lawn of the capital was nothing more than a sod-covered landfill.
Some people saw the trash and tried to clean it up. Others took pride in it, displaying it for all to see as if daring the world to do something about it. Some people said, 'We need to leave this world a better place for our children! ' Some children stood in the dump with their parents, proudly standing by the trash they had been raised in.
Most people, though, simply hid it. Hid their slop beneath squash, their rubbish under roses. They showed the world a beautiful garden while not bothering to change the filth beneath it, and they knew that nearly everyone else was doing the same.
Some of my classmates tried to clean up. Little by little, so their parents wouldn't notice, they pulled the garbage out and threw it away, but there was always more. Some got together with their friends to discuss ways to clean everything up. Some got discouraged and gave up, proclaiming that this is the world we live in and nothing will change it.
I wouldn't want to raise kids in this kind of environment, but if I do have children, I'll teach them to garden at a young age. I'll show them how to sow the seeds, how to cultivate the land. I'll show them that with a little love and patience and effort, something truly beautiful can bloom.