Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cat Poop

No photos this time...be thankful for that. The newness of living in a strange place, combined with the vagarities of trying to combine various lives, is driving a lot of our activities and eating up almost all of our attention right now. Can't share too much about that just yet...but one story seems to demand to be shared. Maybe because it's symbolic of something more? Don't know.

Arizona high desert living demands a different way of seeing life than the way of living we thought was "sane" in Santa Cruz. Take the issue of disposing of cat poop.

The old way? Use a litter box, scoop it out every day, and dispose of it in a recycled plastic bag by tossing it in the garbage. I guess the recycled part made it seem virtuous.

The high desert way? "Throw it in the desert!" That's what I was told the first day I asked. And why did I have to ask? Well, we don't divide our garbage into recyclables and trash and put it out on the street for the trash collectors to pick up out here. No! There are no trash collectors. There is no recycling center. The nearest "dump" is 45 minutes away. So instead we divide trash into burnables and nonburnables...and I didn't know which category used cat litter fell into.

"Just throw it into the desert." That's the same thing as our backyard. I couldn't bear the thought of it so I walked a fair bit of distance away from the house, dug a hole in the ground, and covered it up as best as I could. The response from our hosts was a bemused "That's an interesting thing to do...but I guess if you really want to...".

The next day I discovered that the coyotes had dug it up so the next time I threw out cat poop I dug the hole deeper. Ha, Ha. It was still no good.

By then though it had started to dawn on me that the desert is full of poop! First of all this property is a free range cattle right of way. Unless people put up a fence the local cattle ranchers have a right to let their cattle graze wherever they want. Our hosts don't believe in fences so the cattle walk right in, eat whatever they can get at, and poop wherever they want, too. Paul and I haven't seen any cattle on the land yet but proof of their past use can be seen wherever we go.

But, lest you forget where we are, that's not the most prevalent poop to be found. There's coyote poop, antelope poop, rabbit poop, and who knows what else. What's a little cat litter going to do?

Using plastic bags to dispose of it seems downright decadent now. Ridiculous, not even close to ecologically sound. I still cover it up. But that's just a formality, to make me feel less uncomfortable. I know better than to think it matters a single bit.

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