Today is garbage day.
The trucks are making their rounds in my neighborhood picking up black plastic bins and dumping them in one section, returning them to the curb to hoist the grey bins dumping recyclables into a different section. The green trimming truck comes by later.
Every Monday night my husband faithfully makes the rounds of small trash cans in our home, collecting and sorting as he goes before wheeling our assorted bins out to their appointed spot next to the neighbor’s to wait for Tuesday morning.
Today is also the intersection of a few things that may seem entirely random to anyone else but from my particular spot in time on this particular little ball of mud hurdling through the universe they all come together for me.
On a balcony in London the Queen of England stood regal and gracious as a million people stood before her singing the national anthem. Celebrating 60 years as the reigning monarch, she was Queen for 10 years before I was born in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England. The past four days have been a nationwide celebration of the woman many look to with the affection of a grandmother. She is the only Queen many have ever known. Those who remember her father as King have watched her grow from a child remaining in London during the War to a young woman of elegance, a mother and then ascend the throne at his passing. I add my voice…”God save the Queen”.
Watching her my eyes fill with tears as I mourn my own grandmother who would have celebrated her birthday today. This is the second June 5th since she passed away. I last saw her in 2010. It had been 25 years since we were face to face. Entering her room at her lovely retirement home I sank down at her feet and said, “Hello, gramma. It’s Lana.” To which she replied, “No, you’re not. Lana is in California.” After being able to verify who I was based on some memories of my childhood we both remembered she looked straight in my eyes and said, “You got old!” With great personal restraint I did not reply, “You’ve always looked this old!” I miss her. I miss that I did not know her very well. I don’t know her story. I don’t know the richness of her life. I think I probably know the Queen’s history better than my own grandmother’s.
Photo by Crystal Liles
I had gone back east to help my mother clear out years of stuff that had accumulated in her home making it a hazard and jeopardizing her ability to remain there. It was this crisis that prompted my return after 25 years absence. Those years had been marked with nightmares about returning. After four days of sorting and tossing, which turned out to be very therapeutic, mother’s home was organized, safe and passed inspection. The nightmares have not returned.
In two days I celebrate a half century of my own story. The closer June 7 gets the more introspective I become wondering what the highlight reel of my life would include. How would it hold up when the failures and triumphs are weighed? I try not to compare my life with others but even looking back with singular vision I see so many missed opportunities, so many wasted efforts, so many wrong decisions I stuck with far too long because pride refused to admit mistakes, so many things I look back wondering “what was I thinking!?!” When it comes time to sort through my “stuff” what will my daughter find worth keeping? How much will she toss out as trash?
But when I toss out the garbage myself I find I am left with some really good stuff. A family of interesting characters held together by love not blood, a handful of genuine friends who may not always understand me but who accept me as I am, a few projects that I helped see to completion that I am honored to have been part of, and a little hard earned wisdom.
Today the planet Venus passes between my little ball of mud and the Sun. This won’t happen again in my lifetime and honestly I didn’t really pay attention when it happened in 2004. Named after the goddess of Love I can’t help but think how incredible it is that today, when I am clearing out the trash to see the treasures of my life, looking toward the Son from the mud I see Love. Because He is King and I am His beloved I am a queen.
I wonder what day they pick up the garbage at Buckingham Palace?