To avoid tracking needles throughout the Warren, I got out the vacuum and prepared to "Hoover" them up, as our Brit friends would say.
"Wait!" Donna-Lane stopped me just before I pressed the on button. "It may not be good to vacuum all those needles into the machine. Besides, I thought we'd sweep them up, and take them down to the river. Return them to nature."
I looked at her with one of those bewildered "You're joking, right?" faces I get when I think someone's pulling my leg.
She wasn't. D-L is very much into taking as good care of the earth as we can. Things like using washable napkins and kitchen towels rather than disposable paper napkins and paper towels.
I come from a culture that worships convenience and landfills.
Knowing that the tree would shed needles every step of the way as I dragged it through the house, the street, and in Barbara's car trunk on the way to the dechetterie, I decided to try shaking it on the patio first.
Almost every needle fell off.
So we swept up most of them (a few will, indeed, get Hoovered), put them in a blue bag, and headed for the river. I teased D-L repeatedly along the way, but she's absolutely right about recycling and responsible stewardship of the planet.
It was a beautiful sunny and reasonably warm day in Argeles-sur-mer, and the needles made a pattern that morphed into kind of an animal's face and body on what little water was in the river.
Perhaps in the spring, there will be thousands of small pine trees lining the river all the way to the Med. Or maybe some of the needles will drift into the sea and work their way to the coast of Morocco and the desert will become forest. Perhaps not, but it made for a bit of fun in taking down the tree.
Now where'd I put the Hoover?
BTW, D-L's version of events can be found at: http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.fr/2014/01/needles-to-nourishing-nature.html. We wrote these simultaneously without discussing them - one of our 'dueling blogs' occasions.