COVID-19, Trump and Climate Change: Stressful but the smell of Home-Made Apple-Sage Soap
November 16, 2020
I honestly thought I was the only one who was a bit off these days. I chalked it up to post-election euphoria dysphoria. You know the feeling after being so happy, and then you crash emotionally. I was it a semi-catatonic state and only able to blog and tend to my vinegar and plants (which since I’m planting radishes – doesn’t require much of anything). I was able to finish clinical care, but my imagination and motivation for bigger projects both at work and with the climate began to ellude me. I became incapacitated with worry two nights ago because I worried about my right 2nd toe. The medial side of my toe had a paronychia and it had became inflamed. I was worried it was becoming infected and upset at my feet for once again giving up on me (I have had plantar fasciitis and achilles tendon issues and chronic ankle instability). Why was middle-age doing a number on my poor toe? I have been trying to treat my feet well with good shoes including two sturdy pairs from Goodwill and a new Nike Air-Pegasus sneakers? Was it the litter-picking? Was trying to get an extra bag that morning while street picking too much for my toe? I was mad at Mr. Plastic Picker for not caring about my toe, and glared at the puppy for loving Mr. Plastic Picker more than me. That night, I just scrolled through Instagram and worried about my toe. I could do nothing more for the earth nor for work, because of my right 2nd toe paronychia. I ended up applying some peroxide to the area and trimming the nail, and went to bed.
By Sunday morning the next morning, the toe was better and I went to the beach and had a wonderful solo beach clean up. I was behind on number of bags for the month and trying to catch up. I’m now at bag #7 for the month and salvaged 52 items for a total of #328 bags and item #1284 https://drplasticpicker.com/plastic-picking-round-up/. The beach always centers me, and I began to notice that my post-election euphoria dysphoria was not just me. Mr. Plastic Picker worked extra shifts on Saturday and Sunday, and a semi-annoying colleague’s issue resulted in him not being able to work from home and having to go into the hospital to attend to things. He was irritable and stormed back to work on Sunday declaring that he wouldn’t be home unti later and to have dinner without him (although he got back earlier than he expected). Then my friend Dr. Jill Gutafson has been sad on our personal facebook. Then Mr. Money Mustache who I don’t really read much anymore (remember he is the cult-like FIRE blogger) finally posted again and trying to justify why he no longer buys health insurance. I had already been skeptical of advice given by internet personal finance cult-figures, but as he has millions of followers and spouting off nonsense like that – I realized the world is a little bit stressed right now. I’m sure the wildfires burning through Colorado aren’t helping his mental health.
It makes sense. The post-election discord it not what either side wants. Rallies and protest, masked and unmasked, and we are entering the third wave of covid-19. We have been relatively spared in pediatrics, but we are all worried about our older loved ones. Indeed, I had spied my in-laws speaking outside with our even older neighbor in her 90s UNMASKED. I took a picture like a spy from the second story window and called Mr. Plastic Picker to tattle on them. I should have realized at that point that we as a country are all on edge, a large part is also becayse we are again in stricter quarantine PURPLE zone in our area.
I didn’t make the connection until my usual happy co-worder posted a sad post. She had gifted me the most beautiful apple sage green hand-made soap. It’s actually my favorite shade of green of my favorite color. I always knew greeen was my favorite color, but I never have seen that shade. And that shade is beautiful. The smell is also fragrant. I set that home-made bar of soap next to my home computer and I’ve been just bringing it close to my nose and sniffing in through the last week. The entire experience of looking at it and smelling it, just kind of centers me back in the moment. Which is completely hilarious because this is the exact mindfulness exercise I had slighly mocked a few months ago, when someone did it with a clementine! I think the key is that it should be done with an object that has been lovingly hand-made for you by an artistic soul.
The apple-sage home-made soap reminded me to center myself, and I am reminding you dear readership to center yourself in the present. I am worried as well. I was worried about Mr. Plastic Picker as he stormed off back into the hospital yesterday. I laid in our bed and our daughter found me, and I asked her to lay down with me so I could hug her. I told her that when her father is stressed, it stresses me out. It was just a minor work issue. I am worried about my friends who are worried about the state of our collection communuty. I am worried about the upcoming wave of COVID-19 infections. I am worried about the oozing nastiness of the remnants of the Trump Presidency. I am worried always about climate change.
But I’ve cleaned nasty storm drains after a storm. You’d be amazed the remnants of our lives that comes through the storm drains. I’ve picked through gently with a gloved hand shards of glass from buried beach fires. I’ve picked up cigarette butt after cigarette butt along the street. It’s possible to clean it all. And what helps to clean it up, is having those beautiful moments. The smell of apple-sage home-made soap. The feeling of my clean hair after transitioning to HiBar Shampoo Bar (no plastic packaging and no palm-oil). The pungent aroma of my home-made beer vingear. The sweetness of the light and airy pound cake my mother gave us yesterday. Mr. Plastic Picker had divided it into eight pieces, and in a blink of an eye they were gone. But I remember the light sweetness of the cake that my mom made and shared.
And it all kind of makes sense this morning. I find so many things while I’m litterpicking. I mentioned before that I’ve salvaged over 1250 items. And one of those items was a very fancy teal HydroFlask which retails over $30 on line. I sterilized and cleaned it, and it has been gifted to my daughter. It’s her favorite shade of green and I don’t think she realized how much she loved that color. I cleaned off all the sticker residues but left one on. I promise you I did find it yesterday on the beach, and something led me to this item to save from the environment. It said
Yes, Enjoy the Journey. Enjoy this crazy journey we are on. It’s okay to be sad. But I have to remind myself to not forget the right now.