Monday, April 21, 2014

Earth Day -- In My Own Backyard

I never have understood why people litter. Can't they wait until they get home and throw their empty container in the garbage or hold onto it until the nearest trash can? Do they even think twice before flinging that plastic water bottle, McDonald's hamburger wrapper, Big Gulp plastic cup, or Coke can out the car window or down to the sidewalk?

For someone who guards a well-chewed piece of gum until I can find a suitable place to dispose of it, I just can't relate to a litterer. Can you?

This time of year, litter is particularly obvious. The ground is bare. Litter has no place to hide. Earth hasn't started to cover the shameful trash with her greenery. I see it strewn in lawns and ditches every morning on my walk here in Arkansas and along streets and sidewalks near our apartment in Jersey City.  I chastise the unknown perpetrators, lament the environmental impact, bemoan the ugliness, yet do nothing. Someone else will pick it up. I don't have anything to put it in. It's too dirty. No more excuses. No longer!

Drew and I started picking up pieces of assorted litter last week as we walked on the road leading to our house. A couple of cups, a quart-sized bottle of Margarita mix, cans, a torn plastic bag large enough to stuff it all in.

The recycling truck will pick it up tomorrow, April 22 - Earth Day. A fitting end to this litter's saga.

But there is more.  Today I took pictures.

Tomorrow I will take trash bags and pick it up.  And I will try to do so without chastising, lamenting or bemoaning, but simply doing.

Then I'll come home, sit among the dogwood, azalea and lilac and thank the earth for her beauty. . and for my ability to be among her stewards.

   “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” 
                                                      --Wendell Berry



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