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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 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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