Thursday, April 24, 2014

Picking Up

I took a walk on Easter Sunday with my sister, down the road that Dad lives on.  It was a beautiful day.  Being early spring, we could see a lot of bottles, cans, and trash in the ditches alongside the road.  Stuff that had been disguised by last year's vegetation and/or snowbanks until now.

We grew up in the '60s and '70s with Keep America Beautiful campaigns, the "crying Indian" commercial, the first Earth Day, reading Silent Spring in school, and going to Trees for Tomorrow, an environmental education retreat.

Over this hill, about a half mile further up the road, is a park on top of a limestone ledge.  The ledge is part of the Niagara Escarpment, a geological formation that extends all the way from New York State through southern Ontario, the upper peninsula of Michigan and eastern edge of Wisconsin.
It's a beautiful place, this park.  I've mentioned it way back in the early days of this blog, here.

The park is open in spring-summer-fall for camping, hiking, group outings, and general partying.  From the looks of things along the road Dad lives on, what is left from the revelry sometimes gets tossed out the car window on the trip back to town—beer cans, liquor bottles, food wrappers, and other detritus.

It's easy to slip into bemoaning "kids these days," and let it go at that.  But that's not entirely fair and certainly not helpful. 

So I suggested Sis and I informally "adopt a highway" and clean up a stretch of this road before the stuff got covered over in another year's worth of tall grass and weeds.

Sure, there are a lot of other things to do a sunny spring morning, so why this?

Short answer:  Because I can. 

And I care.  And I don't want to see garbage when I walk.  And if not me (and Nita), then who?  Okay, maybe not such a short answer.
Nita nabs a can.
My 80-something uncle used to ride his bike out here regularly and pick up cans, but he is not able to get around much anymore.

So a-pickin' we went.  A hundred yards up the road, having already filled one large trash bag, we remarked that we weren't seeing any green tea or soy milk cartons (but plenty of Bud Light and Miller).

A few minutes later, though, booyah!  Lest we get too sanctimonious (green tea with ginseng!):

On the way back to Dad's, lugging overstuffed garbage bags, we met a neighbor pulling out of her drive.  She stopped to ask if we wanted to drop our load into her trash bin, which was at the side of the road for pickup.  We took her up on her generous offer, and she thanked us for our efforts—a sweet way to end the morning!

11 comments:

mefutch said...

Thank you!

Catherine said...

What a great idea. I grew up in the 1960's with Keep Britain Tidy and other campaigns over here. My husband walks along the lane to our house and picks regularly. Well done!

Karen said...

What a wonderful task! Ridiculous how stuff is cast on the road.

Melanie said...

UGGGHH! People who litter is my pet peeve.

Peggyinno said...

Here in New Orleans, it's called "Mardi Gras mentality" when people litter! Just because they weight a successful Mardi Gras with the amount of garbage collected doesn't mean we should litter EVERYDAY, but people seem to think it's easier to throw it out from your car than deal with it at home. SHAMEFUL!
But, on a positive note, a big THANK YOU to you and your sister.

Hazel said...

I was raised at the same era as you and I also was taught by my parents to always carry a bag so I could pick up any trash I saw. I still do this and so enjoyed reading that you do this as well.

Mina said...

This is wonderful! I grew up in the same time and sometimes I get up at dawn on Sundays to pick up the trash outside my subdivision. I have been able to spend some quiet time watching hawks, falcons, deer, rabbits.

Elizabeth said...

You ladies are too beautiful, inside and out! What a great way to spend a spring morning.

I forgot to tell you on your last post that I'm glad your shoulder is loosening up and getting better!

xo -E

Michelle said...

Awesome! Exercise and clean-up. Wonderful, ladies! Just wonderful.

Shay said...

Im giving you and Nita a resounding round of applause. This was a great thing to do. Makes me thing I should find a stretch of road and adopt it for myself.

Pokey said...

Good job! Important work, too. I teach the pick up chore at school, and we walk across the campus picking up anything dropped by others. I reward with a skittle, after they wash their hands ~
:-}pokey

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