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Quiet vs. serene …

Good morning, earthlings.

There’s something about stepping outside at 5:30 a.m. for the morning constitutional. I’m not saying it’s good, I’m just saying it’s something. All things considered, I’d rather follow Wm. Shakespeare’s advice from The Tempest:

We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

It is dead still in the dark. This amplifies the glad morning chatter of my up-and-at-’em friends the birds. Clearly heard is the whistle of a train that chugs roughly 3 miles away to the west as it crosses Tyvola. Somewhere there is car traffic, but it’s not upon me yet.

I recognize that it is quiet, but I recognize, too, what the silence falls short of. There is an abundance of quiet in my life. Yet what is best about these early a.m. walks that isn’t always present in quiet moments is serenity. It is serene to be out, stepping into the day. It is a wonderful sensation.

Alas, the sensation is fleeting. It really goes to hell as I near the intersection of Colony and Fairview Roads. Traffic is building and the noise bursts the serenity bubble.

Rubbing salt in the wound is the litany of trash. It’s beginning to build up in my bag. I go off script for a couple of minutes about a block north of the intersection to retrieve a green plastic bottle, Mountain Dew most likely, spied yesterday from my car. Bingo.

Bags don't get much fuller than this. I'm saving up a week's worth of bags to see what seven days in May will look like when dumped out onto my driveway. Yikes!

Bags don’t get much fuller than this. I’m saving up a week’s worth of bags to see what seven days in May will look like when dumped out onto my driveway. Yikes!

About three-quarters of the way through the slog I muse about the lack of polystyrene. Of course, that pipe dream is crushed as I cross to the west side of Sharon Road. The first mangled chunks of poly come into view. From the look of things, it was something sizable that has been ground into small chunks that are windblown or moved along in the jet stream of passing cars. I stoop to conquer every 4-5 yards. This madness goes on for the entire four block stretch from Fairview to Sharon View, with the chunks progressively larger as I go. What bugs me about polystyrene, aside from its insidious non-degradable nature, is it won’t compress and my bag is already near the breaking point. Some big chunks are stowed in the pockets of my jacket. I’ve got to leave room along the home stretch for the nearly obligatory find of a Coors Light can. To my surprise, someone wasn’t guzzling Coors last night. Instead, they tossed aside a big can of Monster something-or-other.

While I lament that it grows lighter earlier to deny me anonymity, the morning light did me one favor: Revealed to me was the gleam from a quarter along the curb. Hey, every walk has to have some reward.

About Dave Bradley (264 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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