Trash Walking

disposables, keepers, treasures

Losing myself. My beach, my country, my responsibility.

It was a perfect morning for trash walking today at “my” park/beach today. Sun shining, autumn colours a bit past peak, but the trees are still stunning in their beauty. I was quite worried about what I would find at the beach, because it’s been over a month since I dedicated some time to it.There was not very much litter at all today, and I was really very pleasantly surprised. Maybe someone else has been picking up there. That would be good! Maybe people have been staying away from the park, but I sort of doubt that, because we have had some lovely weather lately. The kind of weather where we Ontarians head outdoors to “enjoy it while we can”, because we know that snow and cold are just around the corner. Maybe there was more than I could see, and the usual nasty bits of styrofoam, broken plastic and cigarette butts were just hidden under the beautiful covering of fallen leaves. Anyway, I got what I could see. Not even enough to fill my trusty bucket and bag today. Only took one trash photo, then took more of the beauty around me. Not that I’m complaining about not finding garbage. That is a good thing. It was a gorgeous morning. I enjoyed being out, listening to the waves, and loosing myself at the beach for a while. When I was finished picking up, I found a bench and did a little work on a zen doodle that I started earlier this week. IMG01562-20141028-1428
I thought about a terribly sad week in my country. Two soldiers killed, and I don’t understand why. I hope their families and loved ones find peace some day, and I hope that they rest in peace. Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincente, thank you for your service to Canada. This post is dedicated to you.

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Seeing Red…I Thought I Was Finished

With the busy first few weeks of school behind us, I took some time to myself yesterday to head over to “my” beach and get some cleaning done.

I have not been there since August, so I was expecting it to be really, really bad.  Not quite as much debris as I expected, but I still ended up filling my bucket.  Mostly the usual small bits of styrofoam and plastic, straws, utensils, a comb, various drinking bottles and coffee cups (Timmies, of course.  We’re in Canada, eh).  Also two needles, a weird filter looking thing, a length of four dog poop bags that had been accidentally dropped by one of the dog loving locals, a paratrooper who was missing his legs and his chute, one red balloon, one child’s beach shovel, also red.  Red flower petal.

My haul looked like this when I was finished.  IMG01324-20140912-1145

When I trash walk, it is usually the colour of something that I first notice.  The blue piece of candy wrapper in contrast to the brownish shades that make up the sand.  The white of a styrofoam cup against the green of the shoreline vegetation.  Purple lighter, orange bottle cap, yellow bag, blue paratrooper. I figured the colour of the day was red yesterday, since I found the balloon, shovel and flower petal all in the same area, at the same time.  I had no idea how right I was!

When I finished my day’s walk, and disposed of the trash properly, I decided to grab a bench for a few minutes, to sit and enjoy the silence of the park.  I thought I was finished, I really did!

But this is what the area in front of the bench looked like IMG01326-20140912-1153IMG01334-20140912-1225 And this is what the field behind the bench looked like.

Pretty right?  At first glance I thought they were red leaves.  We are expected to have an early autumn here in Ontario, after all.  Except the trees in this area are willows.  Their leaves don’t look like this!  Okay, red flower petals.  There was some sort of a celebration here recently, and these flower petals were scattered.  How lovely.  No.  Not lovely at all!  These petals are some sort of cheap synthetic material (nylon?)  they were everywhere, and there were a lot of them!  The colour of the day was most definitely red!

I bent over, I don’t know how many times, and picked up each and every one of these damn things.  I wanted to stop at one point, because I was feeling a tad overwhelmed by how many were still on the grass after 15 minutes of picking.  I was getting really hungry too, and just wanted to go home for lunch.  But, I like to finish what I’ve started, so I kept going.

I was thrilled when a city maintenance truck pulled into the lot and proceeded to unload their grass cutting machinery.    They would have a rake that I could borrow, and would be happy to lend it for such a good purpose.  Hell, they might even come help me.  No such luck, I’m afraid.  What kind of a park maintenance truck doesn’t have a rake on it for goodness sake?  Curses!   On I went.  Bend, pick, pick, pick, curse.  Bend, pick, pick, pick, curse.  Bend, pick, pick, pick curse. I was silently cursing the makers of these things, the throwers of these things,  and the maintenance guys for not having a rake!

As with most litterers, whoever threw these petals didn’t give a thought to nature or our earth, or the impact of their actions.  By the way the petals were scattered, I’m quite certain that the act was a way of marking an occasion or honouring something or someone.  A beautiful act.  But there is no beauty in fake red flower petals.  Throwing them is no way to honour anyone or anything.  The fake-ness cheapens and degrades the point of the act, I think, and ultimately just leaves a mess for someone else to clean up.

Throwing real flower petals?   Absolutely.  That is a beautiful act.  Do that instead.  Please.

I brought the whole bag of petals home with me, so I can count them.  Crazy?  Maybe.  But I just have to know.  I’ll share the number when I have it






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