It hit me the other day as I watched two men in a station wagon cruising slowly down the street, inspecting the assorted trash outside everybody’s house, that when the town switches over to the new barrel system this fall, one of the town’s long-standing traditions will die.
If the only stuff that trash collectors will pick up is whatever we can cram in the barrel for the one-armed trucks to lift, dump and return to the curb empty, then there’s no place anymore for putting old Playschool climbing toys on the side of the road, or aging tv sets with “IT WORKS” signs taped on the tubes, or boxes of odds and ends from the basement. They either get tossed in the can or hauled off to …. well, I’m not sure.
What I do know is that I probably won’t be trying to lug an old bookshelf home that my neighbor down the block no longer wants. I’ll just see neat rows of big trash cans, with nothing to differentiate one from the other except perhaps whether the lids are firmly closed or propped up a bit by that final bag of kitchen litter.
I imagine this change will have quite an impact on the stores throughout the area that sell used goods and for the people who take out trash to flea markets.
What it really does, I’m afraid, is to push us a little further towards becoming the throw-away society we all loathe, even as embrace its ethos day in and day out. What’s old and unwanted simply disappears. It never even makes a pit stop by the side of the road, where a hope of new life still exists.
The depressing story in today’s Hartford Courant about Bulkeley High School shutting down virtually its entire music program got me thinking about how stunning it is that West Hartford is so blessed musically.
While other schools close down music and art — seen as extras that are expendable — West Hartford’s commitment to superior arts and music education hasn’t wavered. We’re so lucky to have the jazz bands at the high schools, art that is amazing and even good bands at the elementary schools. It’s a town that’s firmly supporting the proposition that music and the arts are just as important as English, math or football. Well, football doesn’t even compare here, does it?
It’s a travesty, really, that that Bulkeley’s priorities are so messed up. It shouldn’t be allowed to close down the programs, because doing so just shuts out one more thread that connects its students to a wider, better world than the one so many of them have at home.
But it’s comforting to know, too, that West Hartford remains a place that’s filled with the sound of music.
You know everyone’s gone to the Shore, the Cape, the Islands, the Berkshires or wherever when you get through an entire Sunday and never hear a single lawnmower going. It was serenely quiet today.
The loudest sound I heard all day was my own groan when I read former Gov. Rowland’s comments on his “reform” in prison.
There's just been entirely too much rain this spring.
I'm a loyal reader of the Courant, the West Hartford News, West Hartford Life and any other strange publication focused on our town that lands on my doorstep. I read the town's emails. I peruse the politicians' mailings. I sometimes even talk to a few of the people who run our town.
But I feel like I never know what's going on.
So I hope that starting a blog that takes an occasional look at events here may force me to learn more and perhaps it will also spur a bit of debate. That often does wonders for clarifying what's really at stake.
Though I'm a registered Democrat, I don't much care about party labels. I've voted for my share of Republicans over the years, mostly without regret. So I hope this won't seem too partisan.
Let's see where it goes.