I just got back from my weekly or biweekly trash pick-up. I live off of a rural road, and as much as one might think there would be lovely views of wildflowers and beautiful untouched landscapes, sometimes it just ain’t so.
I routinely collect a 30 gallon garbage bag FULL of litter every time I make a visit to each side of my driveway. I only have to walk a few feet down either side to be greeted with a variety of, but common items: styrofoam containers, beer and soda cans, plastic bottles, empty cigarette packs, fast food packaging. Today, a few others: a bright blue tarp, three photographs from an outdoor party, one pair of men’s soaking wet underwear (it did rain last night…), a piece of a discarded credit card advertisement, a dishrag. A piece of metal that had ridges in it…hmmm…I could use that for texture in an art piece…but no, I let it go. This time.
I’ve often thought of writing a poem based on some of the things I come across, but today I had an additional thought.
I still have a lot of litter in me, too.
I found myself looking at those items and making a lot of judgments. And about halfway through the process, I decided to quit thinking about the kinds of people who throw trash on roadsides and recall what a relative told me once: trash attracts trash.
One cup in the ditch is an invitation to throw another. Negative thoughts only bring more. My ruminating on someone’s choice doesn’t change the fact that I can make things a little better in this case. In life, we don’t always get to fix things. I can pick up some trash though and make this little spot a bit more beautiful.
While there, I noticed the yellows and whites of roadside blooms in progress. I saw two crawdad houses, some wild violets trying to get going. The doves were talking.
Maybe they were saying thank you.
It is a sunny day here. It felt good to be outside and moving. After I walked back, I saw several things around the house that needed cleanup, too. So I got busy. And that busy brought about a lot of other judgments. About little ole me. Yep. I have a lot of cleanup to do, too. It’s just not always out there for the world to see.
So, open your eyes to the world around you, and make it a little bit better today. Better because it’s a good thing to do. Better with no strings attached. Better attracts better.