Please Do Not Feed the Animals

The other morning, I was awakened by my annoying alarm clock. I flopped my arm on the nightstand, pounded the snooze button, then buried myself deep within the covers again.

The sun was bright. Too bright. Its brightness was the equivalent of a warm smile and had the same effect — you couldn't help but acknowledge the glow.

Reluctantly, I dragged myself out of the bed and made my way to the living room, all while focusing through two, barely-opened (and crusty) eyes.

I performed my normal routine; checking over Kaden's school papers again, gathering Kaden's clothes, and turning on the television to watch the news. By now, the sun had followed me from the bedroom to the living room. It was even brighter than before.

I opened the curtain and my jaw must have hit the floor– which was sprinkled with a shoe here, a sock there, and a few Lego pieces. Overnight, someone, something, or some beast had made a landfill out of my front yard. It was a complete eyesore. And I was not in the mood to treat it at all.

Once Kaden was ready for school, we both headed outside to the bus stop. He was toting his book bag. I was toting a trash bag and sporting plastic gloves. The yard was a mess, so much so that pass-byers turned to gawk at the chaos. No one offered to help though (maybe next time I'll try wearing a bikini and turn heads...or a few stomachs upside down). There was more important stuff to hurry to — work, school, coffee.

Evidently, an unleashed animal got a hold of the trash that was waiting for pick-up. Kaden had proudly dragged it to the beginning of the driveway the evening before. It probably gave the animal time to scope out the scene and see what trouble it could get into. Sounds familiar doesn't it...Adam and Eve anyone?!

I bent over, reached down, and picked up filthy, disgusting, and rotted remnants. Everything from the pass week's dinner to used Kleenex to God-knows-what was strewn across the lifeless grass like a headline on the front cover of a gossip magazine. Just trashy! I found myself gagging at times, overwhelmed by the smell and appearance of a few items. You get the picture.

The craziest part of the entire situation was my determination to rid the yard of debris before Kaden's bus arrived. There was an uncanny embarrassment associated with this disturbing display of destruction. He didn't care, but I did. It must have been the protective side of me. The side that appears for no apparent reason at all. I didn't want him to think this had anything to do with him being as though he put the trash out. Children have a funny way of placing blame of themselves for the weirdest things.

I finished picking up the litter in record speed. I even went further with my efforts and picked up a few more stranded items along the road. I was so involved in the process and upset about the lack of responsibility of a few animal owners that I almost missed the metaphor (and a blog post opportunity).

Life is a big waste. Errrrr...wait...scratch that. I'm thinking about another post. Let's try this again.

Life is a wide, open space. As we journey through this land, pieces of us will be left behind — some admirable, others not so much. There will be moment where people stand back, in the cut, and wait for us to gather some of our unwanted pieces to be discarded. Then, while no one is looking, they will attempt to expose our garbage by spreading lies, gossiping, and re-visiting old memories. It's the same as the trash on the lawn.

Eventually, the animal will tire and give up on sifting through your business. They will soon realize why you regard those "pieces" as trash anyway. It wasn't because you were hiding, disguising, or feared being discovered. The fact is we all have a little baggage in life. Some of us just know when to call it clutter and haul it away.

Whatever you do, please do not feed the "animals". It's a hunger that can never be satisfied.

Feeding elephant stock photo by
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