Taking Care of My Patch


On my walk this morning, I feel the wind blowing cold against my skin, the sun is shining, and I can see the mountains with their new dusting of snow, the first in many long weeks. I feel so blessed to be living in such beauty.

I walk this highway regularly, to exercise and to get fresh air into my body, and every so often, depending on the season, I pick up bottles, cans, and trash that motorists have tossed from their windows. Typically I cover a stretch of 3 or more kilometers and sometimes I’ve carried as much trash as 60-70 pounds, along with another bag full of bottles and cans. I love our Mother Earth and give thanks for all we’re given and this care motivates me to clean up the mess left by irresponsible people who use and abuse the environment. I try hard to forgive, but…this is what I really want to say:

To you folks who ditch your cigarette butts and wrappers, beer cans, diapers, tissues, half-eaten fast food in containers, twine, plastic bags, and other crap: I wonder what you imagine happens to this stuff you ditch so carelessly and with no second thought. Do you believe someone else will take care of the mess you leave behind? Do you imagine this stuff will break down and disappear from the landscape? Do you think no one has seen you do this and so you’re in the clear? Do you have any idea what effect this stuff has on our planet’s ecosystem, or how that eventually affects your quality of life?

I pick up twine, mostly made of plastic, dumped by careless ranchers running hay to their stock, plastic bags and containers that get caught in fences, but will eventually make their way to our oceans, if they’re not consumed by the animlitteringfromacarals, and if the plastics don’t ensnare them first. Intoxicated drivers who have collisions with the four-leggeds or something else like a sign post, leave behind the broken pieces of their vehicle: glass, plastic, metal, and batteries, too drunk to even think to collect it and take it with them. There are many liquor bottles, intact and broken, along with beer and pop cans, straws, cups, photographs (don’t think I don’t know who they belonged to), empty beer cartons, unwrapped packages (some of them are yours), used sanitary napkins and diapers and so on. It’s a mess!

What does it take to carry a small container or a plastic bag in your vehicle to hold your trash? Or a great big garbage can, if you’re the guy who always tosses out your empty Players packages, along with the butts you empty onto the road? Wouldn’t you think that if you’re old enough to get a driver’s license, then you’re old enough to take care of the messes you make? Keep them contained in your vehicle and dispose of them at your home or a depot. Change those bad habits!

Where we live, we haul all our trash and yours, along with recyclables 20 miles into town. I can’t imagine you’d like me to come to your place and dump out all of my garbage on your front lawn.