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One piece in a kazillion piece puzzle …

My little corner of the world is actually several corners; Sharon View Road to Colony Road to Fairview Road to Sharon Road and back home along Sharon View.

To a large extent, the localized environment of this mostly rectangle-shaped route is a microcosm of the larger environmental scheme. When scientists talk about the upstream impacts to the overall chain of world health, my neighborhood is that upstream impact. But for those who pick up any amount of litter are concerned, the connection ends there. The junk reclaimed won’t threaten the waterways. It won’t be eaten by wildlife. It won’t be absorbed into the ground or lie dormant for who knows how many years or decades. And this is to say nothing of the visual impact. Litter creates an invasive view, an eyesore and is a visual blight. It speaks to the society’s lazy outlook that seemingly turns a blind eye to such wastefulness.

This debris represents the blight that affects our neighborhoods. We have to do something about it. But we can't expect someone to do it for us. We have to accept the responsibility on our own.

This debris represents the blight that infects our neighborhoods. We have to do something about it. But we can’t expect someone to do it for us. We have to accept the responsibility on our own.

Certainly we can do better. We owe it to four legged, winged, finned, scaled, and yes, two legged creatures to be better stewards of our shared neighborhood resources.

I think of this often on my daily walks. If our world was a kazillion piece jigsaw puzzle, my turf would be one minuscule piece that fits in somewhere even if we don’t know exactly where or how. But fit it does.

You can amplify the number of minuscule pieces (i.e. neighborhoods that need tending) exponentially throughout Charlotte. By extension, the same can be said in St. Paul, Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Miami, Denver and Portland, Oregon, et al. Collectively that’s what we’re up against in what amounts to a street-by-street war against litter along with its insidious sidekicks, namely physical and visual pollutants. It will be up to individuals to find the niche where their piece fits into the larger, but globally shared, puzzle.

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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