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A blocked pipeline … someone is picking up my path! … 

There continues to be little good environmental news anywhere in the world. One bad report after another or more rampant stupidity by government and business officials one one issue or another. 

And then there is today’s news about the North Dakota pipeline. 


The U.S. Corps of Engineers has blocked further work in the pipeline in North Dakota – for the time being. 

This is a twin victory of sorts for Native Americans and their supporters. This hits somewhat close to home for me since I spent some time as a kid in Sioux lands in South Dakota.

1) Pipeline supporters scoff at Sioux claims about ‘sacred lands’ as feeble. But the historical recognition of land by the Sioux doesn’t mesh with the white man’s legal system of deeds and acres and private ownership. Native Americans instead saw the land as an entity, not a ‘thing’ to be owned or fenced in.

2) The environment wins. If the pipeline were to have ruptured, how do you contain a spill once it seeps into the underlying aquifer? Answer: you don’t.

There is another specter on the horizon: soon-to-be President Trump may come to the defense of the pipeline company, which has already vowed to continue it’s dirty work along the original route. Trump may order the Corps of Engineers to stand down, which will only serve to ramp up the protesters again.

Someone is picking up my path. Hallelujah!  

I’ve inexplicably seen less and less trash along my route, notably along Sharon View and Colony Roads. This notable decrease has been witnessed over the past few weeks. Each of my bags is filled with substantially less litter and junk.

It could mean a couple of things; A) miscreants have wised up and are dumping less junk (highly unlikely) or B) someone is doing my job for me.

I think it’s the latter.

There is no clue as to whom the Sidewalk Savior is but if I ever see them at work I’ll … shake their hand and thank them profusely.

This is nirvana. My walks are quicker, cleaner and more satisfying. Whoever you are, thank you.

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.

2 Comments on A blocked pipeline … someone is picking up my path! … 

  1. Rodolfo Valle // December 5, 2016 at 10:20 pm // Reply

    Mr. Bradley, I’m a CMPD Officer in the Providence division and my response area is around the Southpark Mall…I’m always on the lookout for you on my patrols, but a couple of weeks ago, I saw a couple walking on Fairview near the Burger King gathering trash…I actually left my patrol vehicle and went to thank them for their help. It might be the reason why your path is a little cleaner. I live in the University City area and I also gather trash on a daily basis while walking the neighborhood…it never ends.

    • Officer Valle: You are too kind to make any response to me at all. And thank you so much for thanking that couple. Perhaps they are the well-intoned folks who are picking up, of which I am only too grateful. Honestly, I do see a difference. With them doing all the heavy lifting, so to speak, perhaps I have to find another, more dirty path, in the SouthPark area.
      But thanks again. Your comment is very appreciated. If you ever see me on the sidewalk, please stop to let me say hello.

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