My home base is now Brevard. Traded in were the urban environs of Charlotte for a pretty view of the mountains.
But Brevard (pop. 7,800) shares at least one unfortunate trait with its big city brother: an unsightly amount of trash and litter.
While a routine daily path has yet to be determined (not so many sidewalks in my neighborhood), the town has not passed the eyeball test when it comes to cleanliness. Far from it.
And even worse: outlying Transylvania County. You could call it God-awful but that would just be a good start for descriptive terms. The main highway from Brevard to points west, Rte. 64, is an abomination of roadside trash and uncollected litter. My friend Jody and I commented (in coarse, blunt terms) about the abundance of junk when we drove along the two lane asphalt.
Brevard itself seems to tilt toward environmentalism. Thus the local newspaper, the Transylvania Times, runs reader comments about the messiness of the area. Not that the writers are mean spirited but they call pea-brained litterbugs what they are: slobs.
Trash in Charlotte is bad enough, but with plenty of other attributes the Queen City doesn’t hang its hat on ultra-cleanliness.
But it’s a bit of a different deal in Brevard. The town is partially dependent on the tourist trade; hikers in the Pisgah Forest, mountain bikers who pedal hundreds of trail miles and fisher people who cast flies in the trout waters of the Davidson and French Broad Rivers (not to mention an untold number of smaller mountain streams). Brevard and Highland and Cashiers and Hendersonville all have a sizable stake in environmental cleanliness. What I see now, which in some ways makes me gag, is deplorable.
To that end, the non-appeal of numerous trash sightings raises questions: If I’m a visitor, what do I make of road sides that are clogged with junk and debris and litter? Do I grit my teeth and keep moving down the road in search of a more pristine spot? Maybe.
From my admittedly biased and jaded perspective as a pedestrian litter picker upper, there is a ton (maybe literally) of work ahead of me. With the house finally settled I can resume my daily walks, trash bags in hand. Thank goodness the city of Brevard supplied me with a very large recycling bin on wheels. The volume of space will come in handy.
So Pick Up Your Path should again begin to be published on a much more frequent basis. There’ll be lots to talk and whine about out here. And lots to pick up.