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Boots on the ground …

By now you’re likely tired of my weekend diatribes about near-obsessive getting out of bed before the sun and slurping coffee as I walk followed by weak moralisms about the upsides to picking up trash.

I’ve done a particularly poor job to enlist (convert?) others to the necessary habit to pick up even one piece of junk on their daily constitutionals. By my count, I have two converts/regular picker uppers: Cherie in South Carolina and Bob in Des Moines, Iowa.

But it’s a point worth belaboring: the cause of keeping your local environment clean – that includes paths and waterways – sorely needs your boots on the ground. One piece of junk might not seem like a lot, but a plastic bottle here and a chunk of polystyrene there, and pretty soon you are talking about making a solid difference.

Even one piece of trash removed from the environment is better than nothing. In fact, it will be something, and you'll feel proud for it.

Even one piece of trash removed from the environment is better than nothing. In fact, it will be something, and you’ll feel proud for it.

It’s not about the volume but is instead about what each of us can do as individuals to care for the mini-world that is your neighborhood. We either pitch in together or we abrogate the responsibility to others – when the solution is literally right under our feet.

Yeah, you may not want to carry a bag like I do since it can look weird, yet no one will think the worse of you or be the wiser if you stoop for that soda bottle or beer can or piece of random plastic.

Let me go ahead and forecast how you’ll feel when you toss your find(s) in the recycle bin: pretty damn satisfied. There’s a difference between watching and doing – and I’m hopeful that you’ll be a situational doer. All it takes is one piece on one walk. My late father used to admonish me years ago that to do the right thing on many fronts was better than a jab in the eye with a sharp stick.

He was right. Go get ’em.

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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