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Bring it on, Joaquin … and the end of the eco-funk …

After a month of no posts, I’m back in the saddle. I’ve been walking and collecting/photographing junk but just haven’t posted anything; in part that’s because there’s been no end of bad environmental news which put me in an eco-funk of sorts. But the resolve has returned.


I woke up like a shot at 5:15 this Saturday morning, and wondered if Hurricane Joaquin was here.

There was no real need to wonder. He announced his presence on the roof and windows. One look at a radar app on my iPhone confirmed Joaquin was a big boy storm; the north-south band stretched from Georgia to Pennsylvania and was perhaps as wide as the entirety of South Carolina.

One step out on the front porch had me tell myself Only an idiot would walk in this weather.

10 minutes later I was clad in a rain suit and armed with a fortifying cup of black, black, black coffee. There was, however, some sense of adventure that offset the patent idiocy. Plus, the incessant rain would wash all manner of debris into the water system and there’s no way in hell that can stand.

There’s something cathartic and calming about a walk in a hard rain even though the very act of doing so ran counter to every mother’s advice to Come in from the rain. Joaquin was falling in sheets if not buckets. He was illuminated by streetlights on both Colony and Fairview. It was as if I strolled on a Hollywood back lot it rained so hard.

The first half mile there was nothing seen in the darkness. The big find (including a rain drenched quarter) was the remnant of a big, torn plastic bag that was half in-half out of a storm drain but was snagged on something. For reasons unknown there would be a half dozen waterlogged plastic bags retrieved today. They’d stay in reserve unless they were needed.

And one of those bags, the big torn one, was pressed into service with barely a mile to go.  On Sharon Road was a rectangular sheet of polystyrene stuck to the pavement.

The torn white bag was still in good enough shape to contain the sheet of polystyrene. If there's one thing I feel best about in removing from the ecosystem, it's polystyrene.

The torn white bag was still in good enough shape to contain the sheet of polystyrene. If there’s one thing I feel best about in removing from the ecosystem, it’s polystyrene.

It had been run over who knows how many times, and there were chunks along the curb. The big white bag, although split nearly in half, would be the only bag large enough to hold the remnants of the poly. I swathed the sheet in the plastic and, for the next 200 yards, stooped to conquer another 25 – 30 pieces of poly that had calved off the larger sheet.

So I’m home now, the drenched rain suit drying off on the porch and the debris is stowed in the recycle bin. More coffee is brewing, Hurricane Joaquin continues to dump tropical water on Charlotte, and I’m listening to Hold On by Alabama Shakes. It’s been a good, but damp, morning. Bring in on, Joaquin.

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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