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Me? I need more option 3s … and a guy can only take so much sunshine

We all have our breaking points. It’s how we choose to react that defines the sum of our parts.

Last night I was talking with someone when we segued to the things that fill our spare time. Her list was arts, music, grandchildren. On my list was ocean kayaking, writing, exercise, the environment. As so happened, litter collection was my conversation caboose.

That public trash was even up for discussion appeared to catch the listener by surprise. But hey, it’s a passion and it’s part of what I do (however unusual it may make me appear to be).

I explained why it pushed all my hot buttons and outlined my three options before I ever picked up that first piece of junk all those years ago.

Option 1 was to recognize that something bad was going down on our streets. Option 2 was to wonder why someone wasn’t doing anything about litter. And option 3? I decided that I was part of the solution. That I could make a difference.

The surprise never left her face. It was okay. Not an unusual response by any stretch.

I suppose we face a lot of options 1-2-3 in our lives. We can observe, remark and decide.

Me, I could use a few more option 3s in my life.

Sunday was made for walking. So I walked.

There are nice days. And then there are Carolina blue sky days. Sunday was such a day. Magnolias in bloom, Bradford pears ready to pop. Birds in full throated song.

My morning constitutional at daybreak was 90 minutes along the usual Sharon View-Colony-Fairview-Sharon route. One route, one full bag.

For some reason, housework later in the morning held zero appeal so I hit the bricks again at 10:30, path TBD.

When I reached Colony and Sharon I did a right turn and headed due north. I dunno. Maybe it was the drop-dead gorgeous weather or a near-incessant trail of trash but once the litter locomotive got rolling there was no stopping it. When I motored past the light at Runnymede and Sharon my bag and me were on virgin – and unpicked up – turf.

We pressed onward to Queens Road through Myers Park, retrieving plastic all the way. Bag One was stuffed to the gills. We booked it to the Harris Teeter at Providence and Moorhead, parked the bag in a nondescript place and went inside for water and a protein bar.


One can’t live by trash photos alone. These lovely petals are a metaphor of why the environment is worth caring for in the first place.

I also grabbed a fresh bag at the self service checkout area. Hey, the automated machine said to put the item in the bag, so I did.

In fairly short order the Backup Bag B was filled. As much as it killed me to do so, there was a boatload of junk that fell into the I can’t pick up everything category. Maybe it’ll be there for another day. The betting here is that it will be.

Nearly four hours after I stepped out the door for Walk Two, I gladly reached the back driveway, deposited the two full bags along with a 2’x3′ section of polystyrene insulation and headed inside for water – and a nap. A guy can only take so much sunshine.

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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