Litter Be Gone

Pick_Up_Boonville_LogoAfter a fantastic Sixth Annual Pick-Up Boonville, I still feel inspire and keep tackling new routes. Perhaps you saw us picking up along a busy roadway one beautiful morning early April. Our action plan – we each took one side of the road. Although I already knew this, as we trudged up the hill I was reminded once again, we are a mismatched pair.  When it comes to picking up litter, I’m a Type A+ personality sort, whereas my partner, well he is too mellow to even define.  Mismatched perhaps, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I lagged further and further behind, I kept hearing those dreaded words “Leave the cigarette butts!”  Finally I was out of earshot!  Realizing we had only allotted one hour to this task, I begrudgingly passed up the butts and made more progress up the hill; that is until I came upon a drainage area in the woods to my left.  When I see litter headed downhill, all bets are off. I attack it with a vengeance; I might as well pack a lunch!  Major acrobatics ensued as I attempted to capture yet one more elusive piece of litter as I envisioned it floating into the Missouri River.  Finally I maneuvered myself out of the brush and focused my efforts on the bank visible from the road. I didn’t purposely start on the toxic butts again, but if I was already bent over you bet I grabbed the butts within reach; then the butts close-by if it only required shifting my weight and moving just one foot!  Yeah, I can compromise, well sort of.

As I looked up the hill, I realized my partner must have run into a challenging area, as I was getting closer. I was also feeling confident since I had a trick in my back pocket – the car keys! Although there was a risk factor – we were within walking distance from home. As it turned out, we reached our end goal around the same time. I was elated when he said he would walk back down the hill to get our car, more time to nab cigarette butts!  After finishing the intersection, I headed back down the hill. Dang – a newly tossed McDonalds coffee cup lid! Okay, so I’m not telling anybody where I picked up, just in case a reader will purposefully litter there and, well let’s say, challenge my personal growth. Yeah, when I’m deep in litter recognizance, my mind can go there.  Reset, the birds were singing and the trees were in bloom, pear trees and redbuds!  Wish we could give this route more than an hour, but I have another map calling my name!

 

Why I Care

 

14 - Joan '78

Me pondering when 24 year old, perhaps thinking about nature? This was certainly a beautiful spot along a river in Tennessee.

As a child, I wandered aimlessly thru the woods for hours, then cooled my tired feet in the rippling stream as I watched the meanderings of minnows and tadpoles. Once replenished, I wandered on, open to all adventures.  Although never verbalized, I always cared.  As an adult, I have now found my voice.

Now as I revel in the sights, sounds and smells as I hike through Harley Park and along the Katy Trail, I gladly pick up litter obscuring the beauty.

As I visit pristine National and State Parks and drive upon clean cities, I see the possibilities.

As I hear the birds chirping and delighting in the morning, and flock to our bird feeders after snowfall, I want to keep the skies free of pollution.

As I admire majestic California Redwoods and the Big Burr Oak near McBaine, I gladly recycle and use less paper products.

As I breathe in the scents of the flowers & herbs and the fresh air after a rain, I feel an awakening.

As I feel the warmth of the sun and the strength of the wind, I see the potential of harnessing renewable energy sources that don’t pollute the earth.

As I drive thru billboard-free Vermont and Maine, I delight in the views around the next bend.

As I am mesmerized by the ocean waves flowing in and out, watch a waterfall trickling, flowing or thundering over the ledge, and canoe along clear waters, I strive to minimize the chemicals, plastics and cigarette butts flowing into them.

As I hike thru the forest along a clear mountain stream, soak in a hot spring along the way, and summit a mountain, I feel alive!

As I shop at the Farmers Market and see and taste the bounty nature has provided, I want to protect our seeds, soil, and water.

As I meander through the woods and snatch a discarded chip bag, I know I have made a difference.

As I stroll across the Missouri River Bridge, and watch a beautiful sunset melt into the river and fill the sky with color, I am replenished and energized.

As I see a child mesmerized by nature – closely examining a cloud, flower, animal, or build sand castles by the ocean, I know I will always do my part to conserve and preserve those marvels for future generations to come.