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McMullen Creek and a ‘kick in the ass’ …

I’ve mostly exited the funk that lingered after witnessing last week’s depressing scene of untold volumes of junk floating with the tide just north of Miami. It makes you wonder if things are this sordid along other stretches of the Intracoastal up and down the Eastern seaboard. The guessing here is that it is.

Closer to home this morning was the murmur of McMullen Creek, flowing along a little louder than normal after yesterday’s light rain. I couldn’t see the waters in the darkness; but there was plenty to see a couple of days ago during an early evening walk.

This bag of weekend trash does not include plastic seen, but uncollected, along the banks of McMullen Creek. One day soon you'll see a picture of that refuse sitting on my driveway.

This bag of weekend trash does not include plastic seen, but uncollected, along the banks of McMullen Creek. One day soon you’ll see a picture of that refuse sitting on my driveway.

I had stopped momentarily and in those few seconds counted 14 sheets of plastic and/or shopping bags snagged on low hanging branches along the 30 yard stretch of the 10 yard wide creek that was visible from Sharon View Road. The plastic scourge has dangled for a while, and I’m marginally guilty at not having retrieved this flotsam. This was my first semi-inventory of the debris.

There’s little doubt this scene repeats itself on virtually any stream or creek or river anywhere in the U.S. I’ve seen as much on Papio Creek in Omaha, Walnut Creek in Des Moines, the Niobrara in Nebraska’s Sand Hills, the New Fork that drains out of the Wind Rivers in Wyoming and even along the banks of the otherwise pristine Deschutes River in Oregon. Those are only five examples of how many thousands of such waterways?

One of these mornings I’m going to suck it up and wade in McMullen Creek. We’ll reduce the inventory of plastic by a few pieces. As my late father might have said, “That’s better than a kick in the ass.”

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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