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Day 1 … and consideration of your role

Don't ask me why, maybe it was pent-up anger at seeing trash every few feet or perhaps disappointment at same. Some tipping point was reached. It could be that something was so close to my footsteps I could no longer deny or ignore it. The instant reaction was to stoop over and pick up an empty Dr. Pepper bottle. I do remember that. A few steps later there was a plastic bag. Another few paces later, something else.

This was trash from my very first day. It took me 10 or so trips around my block to wise up and finally use a plastic Harris Teeter grocery bag instead of my bare hands. Seeing the sheer volume of junk to be corralled pushed me toward a bag, too.

This was trash from my very first day. It took me 10 or so trips around my block to wise up and finally use a plastic Harris Teeter grocery bag instead of my bare hands. Seeing the sheer volume of junk to be corralled pushed me toward a bag, too.

Pretty soon I could hold no more junk in my hands. When I got home I retrieved my camera from the car, and the picture here is the bulk of that trash from that very first day of removing refuse from along my path. My grand dream is that others will grab a grocery store bag (in my neck of the woods, Harris Teeter or Target bags work just dandy for me) and join me in this neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block campaign to clean up what is ours. Our paths deserve better than to be treated

as dumping grounds. I’m still trying to wrap my arms around how to marshal the notion of neighborhood brigades – maybe a snappy name, a catchy slogan, etc. – but I’m not there as of yet.

What used to piss me off and anger and frustrate me on a daily basis has softened. Sure, just the sheer mass of stuff drives me nuts some days and leads to a stray expletive (said aloud) now and then, but for me it has become a duty, something I can be responsible for.

I don’t think people should enroll in this process solely due to anger. It has to be based on conscience that there is a better way to be sensitive to how we treat our resources and our environment both in terms of our paths and the manufactured items that spoil it. You either think this is a good exercise or you don’t.

But it’s not a snap decision either. The tipping point at which you stoop over for the first time to claim your first prize will come to you in your own good time.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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