Taking Care

We are none of us good enough for the world we have and yet we dream of heaven.
~Edward Abbey

Roadrunner over Las CrucesThis guy stands on a hill west of Las Cruces NM, overlooking the eastbound lanes of I-10.

He's made out of trash and he's pretty big for a roadrunner--something over 12 feet high. I fancy that he watches the plastic shopping bags fly out of our cars as we rush by. Maybe he counts them as they stack up on the fences like tumbleweeds. I'm pretty sure that, since he's made of trash, he can't ignore them.

Neither can I.

If you're somebody who doesn't see roadside trash, well, I just don't know what to say to you, except to ask two questions:

  • How do you ignore it?
  • Why do you ignore it?

I can't abide it. I have a set of packs that I'd make my dog wear when we went exploring. I picked up the litter as we walked and stowed it in his packs. He'd carry it home proudly. You might think you have a dog to keep watch over your mother's silverware, but the dog knows better. He's keeping watch over your trash. Dogs know what's important.

It took us a year to clean both sides of the 1.3 mile road from our house out to the highway, but it had to be done. I couldn't walk past it day after day. It didn't belong there. I could do something about it. The road looked fine when we finished, but I suspect I was the only one who noticed. Maybe Albert Pollard noticed, though.

Albert Pollard on trash dutyAlbert Pollard is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, from the 99th District where Ted and I lived until 2009. Albert and his wife, Mariah, spend their summers walking up and down the roads of Virginia's Northern Neck. They talk and listen to the constituents who pause to greet them. As they go, they pick up litter, stuff it into orange Adopt-a-Highway bags supplied by the Virginia Department of Transportation, and slap Pollard bumper stickers on the bags. Good policy, good strategy, good advertising. The man is my hero.

He takes care.