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A steward of the path …

Sleep, where art thou?

Beats the hell out of me. Knowing the bliss of sleep will remain elusive and outside my grasp, and with one blurry eye on the digital clock, every day begins – always – with the same words said aloud: “Let’s do this.” It’s kind of my readiness rigamarole. That, and coffee.

Truth be told, there are worse things than jumping – okay, hobbling – out of bed at some unGodly hour, even on a weekend morning while other mortals enjoy the gift of shuteye.

Really, I can’t wait for my walks in the calm morning darkness. In a weird, odd way, there is a certain excitement at the privilege and honor as steward of my path for the roughly 90 minutes I beat the pavement.

So it was my bag, go-cup of French roast and I were out the door at 5:35 a.m. The birds were already raising Cain and some distance away, probably over toward South Blvd., the horn of a heavy train blared before it crossed Tyvola or some other arterial (it reminds me of my college days at Nebraska when I’d hop into an open boxcar on the occasional west bound train out of Lincoln just to see where it would take me. Usually to nearby Crete or sometimes as far as Holdrege.).

Sticking in my head as I mosey along is a lovely sing-a-long melody by Ivy: Edge of the Ocean:

     Ooh, we can begin again

     Shed our skin, let the sun shine in

     At the edge of the ocean

     We can start over again

As trash days go, this was a lightweight. I can’t remember the last time there was nothing to pick up in the first 10 minutes. It’s a helluva thing to walk in peace and thought for such a long trashless stretch. The first plastic bottle didn’t turn up until the 30 minute mark as I reached the entrance to Phillips Place.


It’s too dark to shoot today’s bag of litter, but this polystyrene cup – the same as a few found today – is always a good retrieval.

The major retrievals were a shoe box-size chunk of polystyrene and a flat of poly along Sharon Road that was destined to be crunched beneath car wheels if not corraled. There’s a good feeling about that.

Of all the years of Saturdays of this chore, today’s bag was by far the lightest and least filled in memory. Hardly the stuff of a bin-buster. The normal and expected volume never materialized. That’s said in a positive way.

So now I’m plopped down on the couch writing this. But not for long. Just heard was the thump of the Saturday New York Times hitting the front porch. Time for real news and more coffee.

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.

1 Comment on A steward of the path …

  1. John cleghorn // April 1, 2017 at 12:43 pm // Reply

    Love your writing – get some sleep!

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