Lately, when I feel the call to be out in nature alone, I also feel that I’ve been given a job—that of litter collector.
Yes, it disturbs my peaceful Zen moment with the plants and creatures of the forest, but I cannot refuse. Today, for example, I went to an alligator habitat to view the inhabitants. I heard the osprey before seeing any. There was no sign of a gator, other than a slide and a few tracks left behind at water’s edge. All was still, apart from an osprey’s call and distant thunder from an approaching storm. Happily, I only found one piece of trash, an aluminum drink can. With my grabbers, I collected it and went on my way. I did, however, find a plastic bucket in a nearby area. I filled it with trash. I later added more litter to the bag with the can from yet another nearby gator habitat. Items like plastic cups, masks, pipes, bottles, cans, and wrappers were removed from nature and disposed of in a secure trash receptacle.
As the afternoon thunderstorm approached more closely, a “small” female gator appeared as if to thank me. I think it was “Olive Oil.” Seeing her was all the reward I needed for the sweaty, dirty job I’d performed.
I continue to pray that people will be more responsible and more respectful of nature. I hope they will carefully dispose of their trash and create less of it. Until then, I suppose I’ll travel with my grabbers!