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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 (254 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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