Thursday, May 2, 2013

Trash Talk

No, not that kind of trash talk. I’m talking about the tons of trash that we humans pitch out our car windows.

The weather has been glorious lately; I had to watch the sunset over the river. We have a tiny roadside park that seems custom designed for just this purpose. No sooner had the brilliant, pink orb hit the horizon, than I started to wonder about Oton and the others.  Even though the temperature had dropped as a front crossed the river, I just didn’t want to go home.  I got in my car and drove to my secret parking spot.

To my surprise, Oton and a few of the others were right there, along a human road, with large sacks and pointy sticks. They were a long way from Elvsmyr and I thought they might be hunting. “Hey guys, what’s up?”

They looked at me with downturned lips. “Why? Why do humans leave their garbage strewn about?” Oton looked cross.

“We don’t all do it, but some people don’t take the time to think about it. I guess it all depends on how you are raised.” It was weak and I knew it. Just then, Leaf poked her head out from behind a still brown clump of cattail. She looked sad, and I couldn’t help but feel partially responsible. I never litter. It’s gross and unnecessary, but neither have I joined an organization that “adopted” a stretch of road, and picked up the trash along our roadways.

“There was a time when this didn’t happen. Humans used to respect the earth, and they used everything given to them,” Leaf said.  I mean, what is all this stuff?” She was holding up a pair of gym shorts.

I felt nauseous. How was I going to explain humans tossing their clothes into the marsh? Maybe I could make them understand how a plastic bag unintentionally will roll around in the wind, but shorts! Yuck.

I walked back to the car and grabbed some plastic bags from the trunk. I had stopped at the store on my way home and the items were still inside. It didn’t matter that I would have to make several trips in and out of the house. All that mattered was the trash—tossed out by other humans—had to go.

We worked in silence for a few hours. I had never seen the trolls so quiet. No one was joking, no one was laughing, and more than one tear glistened along a cheek. Finally, Leaf said, “that’s all for tonight, but you know … it will happen again.”

I nodded my head and gathered the trash. Hauling it back to the car, I called over my shoulder, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what else I can say.”

Oton patted my leg and said simply, “tell them Rebecca. If they knew, maybe they wouldn’t litter.”
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