Like a certain young singer-songwriter that we all know (unless you’ve lived under a rock for a while), who writes and sings about her romances gone awry (T. Swift) – an essayist, such as I, writes about our everyday experiences. So, here goes.
As my Facebook friends will recall, I posted a couple of weeks ago that in one of my walking forays in an industrial area near the woods and the entrance to a couple of trails, after having picked up a discarded plastic bag, and filling it with equally discarded bottles, various food wrappers, cigarette cartons, and such, on my way to a dumpster to discard said trash, I was stopped by a worker at an industry, and asked if I had a home. Apparently he thought I was homeless and “my” bag of trash was either my only possessions, or my only source of income. LMAO, at the time.
However, something similar happened this week, and my funny bone wasn’t tickled this time, but my contemplative mind went into overdrive and into the deep I dove. Why do I pick up trash? Why do I return other people’s shopping carts to the store? Why do I let people in front of me in the checkout line? Why, when I’m out and about, do I engage strangers in random conversation? Why do I hug when I want to hit? Why am I silent when I want to scream? Why am I awake when I want to sleep?…
I pick up trash along my walks as an act of stewardship of the earth, and devotion to God, it’s Creator. I don’t expect thanks or applause (thank God, because I’d be gravely disappointed); but instead of asking me about my motives for picking up their trash, would it kill some people to just say, “thank you.”
I do stick my foot in it, stick my neck out, and never learn about some things. That is, I try to extend goodness, mercy, kindness, and help toward my fellow men, women, and children; but most attempts lately seem to backfire!?!?
For example, this week when walking along a macadam road surrounded by both woods and industry, I spied with my two eyes, a piece of large equipment with its lights on – sitting next to other equipment; like a transformer ready to come more and more alive! I continued my walk, thinking somebody from one of the buildings with employees still around, would notice it and tend to it; or maybe it was new enough that it had a built-in memory to turn the lights off after a bit. Not so much.
On my way back around, I thought I’d seek somebody out and alert them to the lights-on situation. You see, in my thinking I was doing a “good deed” – I was a girl scout, after all. I thought that if that equipment was like an older vehicle, and it had a battery, powering those lights, it might drain the battery and present a problem to its operator, tomorrow.
I popped my head into a couple of open doors in one building and saw no one. I didn’t want to trespass, so I figured I’d done all I could and started to walk away, when a young guy, no more than 19 or 20 years old, called out to me from his car; presumably on a break. He asked if I was looking for someone. I pointed out the equipment with the lights on and he mumbled something about the fact that if it were some other type of equipment he could just turn the lights off, but he’d have to find somebody to deal with this particular piece of equipment.
I walked away, sort of trying to explain to him that he’s probably seen me walking the road this summer…that I’m not some crazy lady, or homeless… He called after me and said, paraphrased: “I’m curious. Why do you walk here, when there are other, beautiful places to walk?” He didn’t wait for a reply, so I guessed it was either a rhetorical question or a critical judgment that indeed I am a crazy lady.
So, in my defense: In the summer, wearing shorts, I avoid some hiking trails (and my husband’s vegetable garden) because the plant matter irritates my extremities and inevitably I end up with some sort of poisonous mass of itchy, unsightly, stuff crawling up my legs or arms and Prednisone, here I come! Instead of the trails, I walk next to them, surrounded by trees to the north, south, left and right of a macadam or gravel road or earth and rock path, well clear of weeds and spreading plants.
I am well aware that there are other places to walk. For example, many people walk or run through my neighborhood (a lovely place with lots of friendly people, and barking dogs in every other yard). Other people drive to the head of a trail and walk from there (drive-to-walk). And, beauty is – as we long know, in the eye of the beholder.
On my walks, I see wildlife, run across few people (with the exception of those couple of workers), and visit with God. I’m often alone with the trees, rocks, animals, and my thoughts; just the way I like it – beautiful!