Saturday Morning

The air was beautiful this morning.  After a hot cup of coffee and Max’s visit with the vet, we headed for Frank’s Flats.  Along the way, I noticed three other ‘pickers’, three men looking for revenue.  I also appreciate that there are some like-minded people who are, at the very least, keeping items like bottles and cans out of the landfill.  But, what I’d really like to see on a nice-weather-day, are families and individuals out picking litter.

I remember a long time ago, seeing these sorts of photos and documentaries and they changed the way I thought about my community environment.

Images like these ones brought to mind an interaction that I shared with students many times along the span of my thirty year teaching career.  If I asked a student to pick up a piece of litter off of the floor, the response was, “That isn’t my granola bar rapper.”  I got to thinking that we’re all like that.  We think that our responsibility to our environment is not to act as a collective.  (If I did not drop that waste, then I will judge the anonymous person who DID, but I will not pick it up.)  We need to, at some point, take positive movement forward as a collective.

It is fine and well to judge the citizens of China or other countries and continents, but we must begin to take a good look at our own nation, our cities and our neighbourhoods.  We use social media of every sort to stand in judgement of other places for their consumption and disgusting waste, but we are blinded by our own.

Just this morning, this is what I saw…

????????????????????“This is why I pay taxes.”

There’s a healthy attitude; don’t you think?

There is a very dangerous exercise that takes place because the status and amount of litter that is gathering along our road sides is becoming so grave.  There is no longer the person-power to pick all of this first and so the cities send out mowers to mow over the stuff, pulverizing it to the point that it becomes invisible to us, but ever so much more dangerous to our ecosystems.

I had to write from my experience today because I was just so broken by the sad state of a single park in a very huge city.  With head down, however, I found a man’s wallet today and dropped it off to the police station, where it was being claimed by its owner.  Little moments of goodness happen as I collect up one large bag of litter every single day.  I’m hoping that others might resolve to, on occasion, do the same.

Ending with a poem…and Max’s today-photograph.


The young man,
arm around his girlfriend,
makes eye contact
and then steers
her in the opposite

Away from me.

An educator,
a professional,
I suppose I wore the cloak
of someone

on the margin.
A woman passes by quickly.
I bend down and pick
another Tim Horton’s cup.
Saturday morning latte.

Do you live in a house of brick?

When the wind stops blowing,
some can rebuild…
a home of cardboard,
pulling the Dorito bags and
the Granola packages in around them.

Tuck into endless
heaps of plastic bags.
Use them for a pillow.

The nesting ducks at the pond’s edge
can gracefully move
through water lined with
straws and cigarette packages.
The peregrines, when they return,
will fly, regal, over all.

It is all about someone else.
It is all about life being busy.
I’ve got only so much time on weekends.
The city needs to deal with the homeless.
The city needs to deal with the trash.
Give them fines.
Do something else.
If it doesn’t make you happy,
why are you doing it?

I’m not happy.  But, I’m going to do it.



User Groups: Community of Shawnessy, Bishop O’Byrne High School, South Fish Creek Recreational Center, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Jugo Juice, Wendy’s, Michael’s, Subway Sandwiches, Calgary Public Library

Today’s Pick offered up for Loretta Young, my beautiful friend.  Will always miss you, but my love is forever and travels with and around you.  Rest in Peace.



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